There are rules for everything in the world we live in today; rules for football, rules for basketball, rules at school, rules from the government and rules in the Bible. Rules seem to…well, rule.
Personally, I try to follow the rules…sometimes and when they fit my agenda. (Sigh) Of course, I’d love to say I bask in the glow of righteousness and honest living all day every day. But, I fail often and I fail miserably.
So, you can imagine my excitement when I read in Mark 12:29-31, “Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’”
Surely, I could manage these two. Now, that is some very wishful thinking!
What I realized with the first rule was that if I really want to love my God with all of my heart, soul and mind then I was going to have to obey and follow Him. Easy? No. Doable? Yes, with God’s help.
If I want to please God then my number one goal should be to ask Him daily for His guidance, protection, forgiveness, mercy and what His will is for the day (not mine).
The second rule seems to be a little harder for me because where God deserves my love, praise and worship, some of the people in this world are not even nice, much less good. However, Jesus didn’t say to love your neighbor as yourself as long as the neighbor is nice, friendly, believes as you do and is fun to be around. He made no stipulations. Jesus said to love them. Period.
This is SO hard. I find myself having selfish reactions to other rule breakers and passing judgment way too fast. Instead of traveling down this path, I should first look inside and notice my own flaws – there are many.
Plus, when others break the rules I get my nose out of joint before I even know what hit me!! I am inclined to make their actions about me and selfishly weigh the ‘fairness’ balances. What are they getting that I’m not because they broke the rules? How do their actions affect me? And, is their punishment severe enough on my ‘fairness’ scale?
The fact is: I have to throw away the ‘fairness’ scale and worry about my own behaviors and get over the rest.
How do I do this, you ask???
- Pray for a convicted heart that will show me my faults and ask for courage and strength to work on my own failings, instead of looking at others mistakes.
- Look up scripture that reminds me to love. Good ones include John 13:13, 1John 4:10-11, 1Corinthians 13:13 and Romans 8:28.
- Memorize the scriptures so that I can keep God’s Word written on my heart. (see Proverbs 3:1-35)
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Ask God to keep my mouth shut, my ears open and to have a forgiving heart in all things!
Life really is a journey and I continue to learn, change and grow. My hope is in Jesus Christ, so that I can be a human who loves God and loves others. I suppose if I can figure that part out, the rest will fall into place!
How do you respond to rule breakers?
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 9:12 – If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.