We have rules in our home; I dare say most families do. Our children know that there are rules for using the computer, for watching TV, for how they speak to each other, for how they treat each other’s property, and for just about everything relational we can think of.
These rules are designed to keep the peace, teach respect, create a safe environment, and provide many other skills that will benefit our children through their lives.
Rules and laws are a part of life, but to what end? In our world we find that there are many rules and laws that we must follow under the threat of sanction. It may be a gross generalization, but the laws in America are there basically to protect our rights; they serve to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Laws ensure that we are treated fairly: if I am wronged, the law will punish the wrongdoer and provide me with justice by doing so. Laws also ensure that I can live out my liberties: violating my civil rights is illegal and is punishable. Laws seem to serve an important role in our quest for liberty and justice.
Of course situations change and new issues arise as time passes. In our home, as the kids get older and new areas of life are revealed to them, we create new rules and modify others for the sake of managing the complexity that is life. As a nation, the same thing happens. And so we create and modify laws.
Today, the creation and modification of laws seems to take place faster than anyone can track. According to one CNN reporter, over 40,000 new state laws were passed in 2014. (http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2013/12/31/40000-new-laws-take-effect-in-2014/). We have become a people that depend upon the rule of law as the final solution to liberty and justice. That speaks volumes to our overall ethics concerning humanity—or its lack thereof.
Mark Twain once said, “Laws control the lesser man…Right conduct controls the greater one.” The rules in our home are not so that our children learn to depend upon rules, they are for the sake of teaching them good habits and enlightening them to the importance of doing what is right for the right reasons.
The idea is to help them grow into men and women who do certain things a certain way, not because the law demands it, but because they love God as well as their fellow man. It is a jaded people who believe that the perfect set of laws are the end goal of a society. That mentality leads to the futile search for morality through laws as well as in leaders who will implement the laws.
Paul wrote, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:17-18 NIV).
Without God we cannot become the “greater people” Mark Twain spoke of. And we have proven this in abundance by our insistent need to find the right politicians to pass the right laws that we think will finally provide the liberty and justice that we seek. Our hearts are so hardened that it is painfully difficult for us to realize that this is a futile thought; and this is something even Christians seem to struggle with.
Yes, laws are important, just as our house rules are. But they are not the end goal. Sanctified relationships with Jesus that lead to virtuous living are the goal. So what are you doing to help this world realize that? What comes out of your mouth? Do you build up, or do you tear people down? Are you seeking holiness? Do you embrace rage? Are you bitter? Do you argue out of hatred? Do you slander others? Or, are you seeking holiness?
Paul wrote, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (V. 29-32).
Only by repudiating our worldly mentality and seeking holiness can we hope to truly provide liberty and justice for all.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!