Rules are good for us, for the most part.
Sometimes we become so preoccupied with the rules that we lose everyday common sense. We lose sight of the big picture because we are so focused on the rule that we forget what it is intended to do. Here is an example from my hospital
This sign is incredibly helpful. It conveys important information. Through the doors next to this sign is an operating room. If you were looking for a bathroom then it is immediately clear that you are in the wrong place. Although the insides of a body are present in both, flushing is discouraged in this one.
There is one part of the sign that usually goes unnoticed, though. Few people recognize the topography. Under the word “east” there is braille.
The question that I had to ask once I noticed the braille is under what circumstances would a blind person need to be in that room? In what capacity does someone who is unable to see well enough to read a sign participate in surgery?
Surely there are not any hospitals where a blind person feels such a sign and says, “Great, I found operating room number 2. Now if I could only find my scalpel.”
The only reason I can think of is that a rule was made requiring the braille. Although such a rule is good, surely the sign maker could have questioned the usefulness of it in this situation.
Rules give us an idea of how things should be. They also acknowledge the likelihood that without adherence to the rule things could go badly.
We have speed limits because most of us would drive too fast, perhaps beyond a safe level.
We have tax days, because otherwise very few would get their taxes in on time if ever.
We have rules about washing our hands after using the restroom at work because nobody wants poo mixed in with anything. And we all know that some of us are not washing.
We have rules about what you are allowed to carry on airplanes because occasionally someone will want do something other than travel.
God gives us rules too. Just after creation Adam and Eve had very few rules. In fact they were really only given one rule that we are told about. To not eat.
But they ate.
Rule breaking became an everyday occurrence. The goodness of creation became twisted.
More rules were given because we needed them. We lost sight of how things are supposed to be. People started using wonderful God given gifts in ways that they were never intended for. The rules help us to understand who God is. They are a reflection of his character. Sometimes what seems good to us is not because we have a failed perspective, one that is sinful.
Sometimes we become so preoccupied with the rules that we lose sight of the big picture. We make a sign that does not make sense. We become legalistic. We start to care more about the rules than we do grace.
We start to care more about the rules than we do Jesus.
Have you used good rules in a legalistic way? What is the dumbest sign you have ever seen?
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