Ray’s Sunday morning lesson prompted me to think about rules. God loves us too much not to give us rules to follow. The same is true for wise mamas and daddies. Don’t go out into the street. Don’t get in a car with a stranger. Don’t eat every sweet thing in the cabinet. All of these rules make sense and so do many others.
Rules can be very good, but some rules can be very bad. Sometimes rules are a system that keeps you from trusting God.
When Jesus came, He confronted those who abused others with their human rules and who considered those human rules more important than the rules of God.
In Luke 13, while Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, He saw a woman who had been sick for 18 years. “She was bent double, and could not straighten up at all” (verse 11). Jesus responded from the compassion of His heart:
When Jesus saw her,
He called her over and said to her,
“Woman, you are freed from your sickness.”
And He laid His hands on her;
and immediately she was made erect again
and began glorifying God.
Remains of the synagogue at Capernaum in Israel, c. 1898-1946,
Courtesy of the G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection,
Library of Congress.
So then all of the people at the synagogue shouted, “Hallelujah,” and the synagogue official shouted loudest of all, right? Well . . . not exactly.
But the synagogue official,
indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath,
began saying to the crowd in response,
“There are six days in which work should be done;
so come during them and get healed,
and not on the Sabbath day.”
Jesus called the synagogue official a hypocrite and asked him:
“And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years,
should she not have been released from this bond
on the Sabbath day?”
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus told the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had gathered around Him:
. . . “Neglecting the commandment of God,
you hold to the tradition of men.”
He was also saying to them,
“You are experts at setting aside
the commandment of God
in order to keep your tradition.”
Please don’t think that I am singling out any one person, group, or movement. I don’t have a particular situation in mind when I say what I am about to say. My words result from a variety of experiences and observations. Over our decades of living and observing, Ray and I have sometimes seen human rules hurt Christians in some churches and sometimes seen human rules hurt members of homeschooling families.
May I give you some motherly advice?
Beware. Be careful. Teach your children to obey God. Make sure your own family rules line up with God’s rules, the ones He teaches in His Word. Teach and enforce them with kindness, humility, and perseverance. Study God’s Word for yourself so that you know what He wants for you and your family. His rules are perfect. People’s rules? Sometimes and sometimes not.
. . . examine everything carefully;
hold fast to that which is good . . .
1 Thessalonians 5:21