Who Rules the Rules? Who Graces the Grace?
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When you were a kid and playing with the neighborhood friends, did you ever have new games get invented, such s variations on “Hide-n-Seek” or “Kick the Can”?
The boys in my neighborhood would find ways to play ball games with little boys and bigger boys. Sometimes new boundaries had to be established such as length of field or between bases, or no hitting the ball over the fence, etc.


Kids, and sometimes adults, who don’t like to read rules of new games they’d never played, or who don’t comprehend 148 pages of rules of a game, make up their own rules because they “just wanna play!” They say, “We’ll figure it out as we go.” Uh-huh.


Rules according to the biggest kid or the number of kids or a big number of big kids were used. Then more rules became corollaries of the first rules. Or there were special rules, such as the “if” game: “If this happens then that should happen.” After a while there were so many rules to remember that even the makers of the rules forgot the original rules.
Players got mad, kicked over the board, threw the pieces of the game against the wall, or walked out while spouting some words that were far from complimentary.
If it was an outdoor ball game that was the scene of childish arguments and reactions, then the offended one, who for some reason was always the one that brought the ball, took it and went home. Hate that when that happens!


You see, most of the time there was not a universal understanding of the rules, and there was no really fair-minded enforcer was to be found.
Adults, and yes, even churched adults, can go through similar problems. We have to make up a rule or a set of rules to offset a series of problems that are similar in kind. People in some kind of leadership positions pronounce the rules “good”.
But, not everybody agrees to follow those rules, or they play the “if” game (see above). After some time, there is frustration because no one is calling foul on the “big kids”, and the “little kids” feel picked on. So, what was meant to help has created more of a problem—all because there was no consistent enforcement method.
That is especially problematic in churches where enforcing rules and discipline can be the cause of 40 years of “volcanoes”, if you know what I mean.
God made laws; laws were broken. God called on leaders to enforce laws; some followed suit, and some became more problems. Some rules were followed. Every act that was stretching a law created more rules!


According to some observers, “These rules had better be followed, or….” Then, later we may hear (or say!), “I know I said we better follow them, but this situation was different.” OY!
That’s why Jesus and His closest followers and believers enforced the concept of grace: Do what pleases God, i.e. love God and love your neighbors. No matter what, show grace—love that is unearned but liberally applied.


Look at these words: 2 Peter 5:5-9, “…make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”


That is an example of grace growing in the spirit. This extends far beyond rules and far into internal, external and eternal satisfaction.


-Pastor Dave


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