Whenever a tragedy occurs, we respond by making new rules. Because of one person, we all have to take our shoes off at the airport now.
Our hope is that the rules will protect us, that they will keep us safe. We make and enforce legislation to try to prevent more bad things from happening.
No wonder we do the same thing with God.
We are afraid that without rules we will fall into sin and lose our way.
And so we make rules designed to keep us on the straight and narrow. Rules that will make it clear that we are on the right path. If we can just keep the rules, then it means that God is happy with us.
No “R-rated” movies. Wear “church clothes” on Sunday. Avoid bad people. Only hang out with good people. Put your kids in Christian schools. Listen to Christian music.
But do the rules really work?
What was the first sin about? A rule or a broken relationship?
I seriously doubt that God cared that much about a piece of fruit. After all, he made it. Out of nothing.
When Adam and Eve chose to eat, they were declaring that they did not trust God. They did not believe that he was good. They wanted something better than what he gave them. They wanted control.
Every sin since declares the same. It is refusing the goodness of God in our lives. It is a lack of trust that he loves us.
And our sin pushes us farther and farther from him.
Rules will never manage the rebellion in our hearts. They will never heal the chasm in our relationship with God.
Only Jesus can do that.
The rules just make us feel better about ourselves and let us avoid the real issue. Our hearts. Our love for ourselves.
Rules are anything but safe.
Do you try to manage sin through rules?
What is the strangest church rule you have come across? Share with us in the comments.
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