Friday, October 30, 2009

By the Rules

It's always a bit disconcerting when I learn, especially so late in life, that there are rules I didn't know existed, but that I'm supposed to live by. Worse is the discovery that there are some rules I needn't have lived by at all.
These discoveries are made all the more complex because rules here aren't rules there, and vice verse.
Those darned old rules.
I might be a hero in one camp because of my righteous adherence to this or that. In another camp I'm as good as dead for not living by, much less knowing the rules.
Those darned old rules.
I also know something about the making of rules. I did it for a living when my children were small; again when they were teens. With embroidered borders I'd post them on the bathroom mirror, or tacked with a Sticky Note (or ten) where they'd be seen clearly - and often.
Growing up, I was schooled (literally) in the art of rule-making and breaking - - the sort that link up with blame, shame and guilt. They were the rules dejour, and many of us now know they were little more than bogeymen meant to control. Precious few of them were crafted out of love; most had the distinct look and feel of fear.

Lest you think I'm advocating anarchy or insubordination, let me allay those concerns: I'm all for rules. I'm all for boundaries and laws. I'm all for order.
However, apart from those rules backed by the gold bouillon of God's own heart, I seriously doubt any rule has much substance. Apart from Him, there's little meat to the boney frame that undergirds the law of any land, any school, any home.

Any fool can make a rule,
and any fool will mind it.
Henry David Thoreau
Rules are mostly made to be broken,
and are too often for the lazy
to hide behind.
Douglas MacArthur
Neither current events nor history
show that the majority rule,
or ever did.
Jefferson Davis
"... why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? Matthew 15:3

"... which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all
your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.'
This is the first and greatest
And the second is like it:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
All the Law and the Prophets hang
on these two commandments."
Matthew 22:36-40
As if to summarize - - that clever sage of the ages - - Charlie Brown, asks:
If you don't like the rules,
whose would you use?


Denise said...

I love this, bless you.

Rose said...

Amen to that! One of my favorite quotes about rules is by Ashleigh Brilliant: “There is a whole world which I alone rule, but it ends at my fingertips”

Shirley said...

"They were the rules dejour, and many of us now know they were little more than bogeymen meant to control. Precious few of them were crafted out of love; most had the distinct look and feel of fear." I can so relate to this! The rules I hated most were the 'invisible' ones that you don't know are there until you cross over them! Yuck!

Diana said...

Good words today.

Thank goodness for grace!!!

Heart2Heart said...


You know these are great words. Without rules our lives would literally be filled with chaos!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Great post today Kathleen. You are always full of such amazing insight!

Jackie said...

Yes and Amen! Loved this post.....What came to my mind "Let His Rules rule!" Yea God!

Sweet Blessings!

Just a little something from Judy said...

Having grown up with lots of rules, rules that I broke and was criticized for breaking, making me want to break more rules. I found it a cycle. Oh, I am all for loving authority and rules with love behind them, I am just not for man made rules for the sake of rules.

Freedom for me came when I learned, and am continuing to learn that "you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free". How wonderful of a truth that proves to be for me.

I truly appreciate your insights and the way you so beautifully share them. Thank you!

christy rose said...

Excellent post Kathleen! I agree with Diana, thank goodness for grace! And mercy too!!! :)

Andrea said...

Awesome post! My mind goes to those rule experts, the Pharisees, whom Jesus called "white-washed tombs."

I agree with Diana and Christy Rose. Praise God for His grace!!!

Blessings to you, my friend,


Terri Tiffany said...

LOL! Love this too:) Whose rules would I like to use if I don't liek the rules?? Mine of course. I've always been a rule follower so it is only on extreme occasion I break them:)
Thank you friend for your kind words to me on my blog. I've struggling with trying to be grateful and not wishing for more or a better job. I know God has me where He wants me and I need to honor that:)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Rules rooted in God's framework always make sense and usually win out, especially with kids. I've been guilty of trying it the other way around... with kids, with husband, with self. Exhausting at times.

Thankful that I don't hold all the answers on the matter; especially thankful for the grace that covers me when I break the "rules".


Brenda Leyland said...

Sassy, I haven't been for a while..... very glad I stopped in.

I so enjoyed this posting about rules..... I liked Charlie Brown's quip too!

Technonana said...

Without the rules it hard to know how to play the game...
but I know this, the rules that my Father has for me are for my best... and Hallelujah for His Amazing Grace!!