“I am all for rules that do not disturb my life,” Ed my old neighbour from Saskatchewan said yesterday. “I like to bend the rules, make exceptions to them and break them unless getting caught could be costly. I learned years ago not to expect others to obey traffic rules. I have to drive defensively, because others are boneheads,” Ed told me.
I was amazed Ed was so eager to share that he doesn’t like rules unless he makes them and is in favour of rules for others but not himself. Probably my old neighbour has many supporters when it comes to how folks feel about rules. We all tend to be OK with laws as long as they don't apply to ourselves. All rules make sense to the person who made them, and we tend to respect the rule that is for the common good. Laws have been called “fair, good, bad and stupid.”
I told Ed motorists here often ignore pedestrians at crosswalks even when the walkers have the green light to walk. It is easier and less painful to give way to the car using your crossing lane than to get run over. There is a rule regarding brute force. The car won’t hurt and bleed, but you will. It has been pointed out that even the rule the majority of voters wins can cause problems for those in the minority. Suppose it is five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner. The sheep has a lot to lose in the vote.
A rule that I might break could be seen as unbreakable to someone else. Last Sunday I wore a dress shirt and shorts to church, as several men wear dress shorts to church. A few other church members made me aware they consider shorts as inappropriate apparel for the church. I was sure I would not start a trend in men’s church fashion by wearing my dress shorts, but some were certain I should not dress to be cool and comfortable in our non-air conditioned church, as dress shorts were offensive to them.
The Pharisees and scribes were often offended and upset with Jesus because he would break rules they felt should be unbreakable. In the seventh chapter of Mark, the Pharisees and scribes were upset because Jesus’s disciples were eating with defiled or unwashed hands. Washing one’s hands after coming from the marketplace was a tradition of purification from the elders. In today’s world, it might seem like good hygiene to wash your hands before eating, but the washing of the elders was about being spiritually cleansed because one might have come in contact with one not Jewish. The Pharisees observed many other traditions as well. They believed following many rules and traditions made them superior to others and more holy before God.
Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God to fulfill the law of God with grace and truth. Jesus lived, died and arose from the dead in love and that love is the fulfillment of the law. To love God with all our hearts, souls and minds, is to love our neighbours as ourselves.