Have you ever felt like your church, friends, or family seem to govern their lives and the lives of others by rules they think should be in place?
Do you ever feel like Christianity, or religion, is all about the rules?
Well you may be on to something. There is a HUGE issue in the church today that seems to lurk behind all the reasons young people, middle aged people, and yes, even older people (you choose where you fit) leave the church.
It’s all about the rules. At least thats how mortal, human beings try to put it. Because they don’t know how to do it any other way.
And if its all about the rules, then there has to be a rule for everything.
What you can’t eat. And then when you stopped eating that, you can’t it this.
What you can’t wear. And when you changed and wear something “more modest”, you can’t wear this.
What you can’t listen to.
What you can’t watch.
Who you can’t date.
Who you can’t love — the big homosexuality issue included.
PEOPLE!!! STOP IT!!!
You know you can’t keep every single rule. And you know that when you don’t, WE ARE WATCHING! Then you become a hypocrite, and then we leave the church, because we don’t want to be around that kind of example.
Is it REALLY all about the rules?
“Whatever may be their profession, it is only those who are world servers at heart that act from policy rather than principle in religious things. We should choose the right because it is right, and leave consequences with God. To men of principle, faith, and daring, the world is indebted for its great reforms. By such men, the work of reform for this time must be carried forward.”
– E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 460
What in the world is principle?
Oxford Dictionary states this:
A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.
Even Jesus had this one figured out.
A pharisees asked him, “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”
“He said to him, ‘ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.’ “
– Matthew 22: 36-40 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
The greatest is love?
The fundamental truth behind the law. This is where all the rules are established. So, you define your own rules* in life. Except for the rules God gave, of course.
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
– 1 John 3:23
WHOA. God gave a commandment. A LAW. And that law is LOVE!
It is NOT “don’t wear this.”
It is NOT “don’t eat this.”
It is NOT “don’t listen to or watch this.”
Now don’t get me wrong, when it’s all about love, then out of love, you choose wisely what you eat, what you wear, what you watch or listen to, because of your love for God, love for others, and love for yourself.
Oh yeah. Loving yourself isn’t wrong. Jesus said to love your neighbor AS yourself, not better than yourself.
So have a little respect for God, others, AND yourself.
Have a little love.
*Note: When I say define your own rules, I mean if live by the principle, and allow the rule to be defined by your situation.
e.g. If you live in a conservative community, that has a problem with wearing a wedding ring, even though you don’t, love your neighbor by not making a big deal about it, and respond by taking it off so you don’t distract them, and cause them to major in the minors. When you are not in that situation, and in a different environment where it won’t be a distraction, then by all means, you can wear the wedding ring!
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