I remember hating that policy required me to hand the guard my driver’s license to allow me passage into a village. Eventually, instead of always getting angry, I learned to accept it and comply with it. When I matured (ahem ahem), I learned to appreciate the policy because it is what I would want the guards in my village to do when outsiders enter. It is a rule that is meant to keep the home owners safe from criminals and the like (well, at least supposedly).
There used to be no law in our country regarding seat belts. Our cars had them but they were rarely used. I never liked them because they felt constricting. But I had to get used to it when the law required the driver and front seat passenger to wear seat belts. I’d rather obey than deal with police and the hassle of “paying” for my offense anyway. Then I learned to appreciate it because of its purpose to save lives. I appreciated it more when I had children.
Growing up, I did not like the rule that my parents gave me about boyfriends — have none till after I finished college. Well, I was happy to comply up until I was 14. It was a different story when I turned 15. It was not until I became a Christian that I appreciated the reason behind that rule, but sadly partly because I already learned the hard way.
You see, rules are there to PROTECT us, not to harm us. We may not like them sometimes and we may think they’re unnecessary, senseless, or too much, but obeying them is for OUR OWN GOOD.
Just as I did many times when I was younger, my girls resist, complain, even negotiate about the rules. Rules like no sitting or standing on the glass table top. Or no opening of the door when a stranger rings the door bell. Or watching only Disney Jr shows and only after school/homeschool. Or brushing teeth and washing up before going to bed. Or cleaning up. Or taking turns and sharing. Or losing a toy or a privilege when they fight about it. Or accepting the consequence of a bad decision.
We remind them that rules are not for us parents, but for them. It’s for their own good, for their welfare, for their protection. They are necessary and they need to learn to appreciate them. We don’t make rules just to make life hard for them. On the contrary. We make rules so that they won’t get hurt physically. So they can be protected from bad influence. So they will learn good hygiene. So they will learn to treat people right. To teach them discipline and responsibility. We make rules so that they will learn to obey their parents and God as early as now, so that obeying the laws of the land and obeying God won’t be so hard when they grow up.
We give and enforce rules because WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN and WE LOVE GOD. We constantly lay the foundations, the bases for our rules — love for God and obedience to Him, in response to His love for us. Our hope is that they will trust our love for them, being assured that we desire what is best for them.
We, God’s children, are the same. Sometimes we whine and complain to God about how hard it is to live a Christian life, which we know is not just a bunch of dos and don’ts. At the heart of these “rules” and boundaries God gives us, is LOVE. His perfect love. He wants us to be inside the circle of His blessing, with Him, because He knows how bad it is outside of it. He does not want that for us. He loves us too much. That’s precisely why He gave Jesus as a sacrifice to take all of our sins and die in place of us on that cross — so we don’t have to spend eternity in sin, separated from Him. And because death could not hold Jesus down and He rose again on the third day, we too can have life — life as God intended for us to have, life to the full!
Because of this NEVER STOPPING, NEVER GIVING UP, UNBREAKING, ALWAYS AND FOREVER kind of LOVE (the Jesus Storybook Bible), we can TRUST GOD completely. We can trust that His ways are higher, therefore infinitely better, than ours. We can trust that His will is what is absolutely BEST for us.
Rules. Love them or hate them. They’re intended for your good.