August 13, 2009
The Love Of Rules
READ: Romans 13:1-10
Love is the fulfillment of the law. —Romans 13:10
When I teach writing, I explain that it’s generally better to use short words or phrases first in a series, as in “arts and letters” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Early in my career, I explained to authors that it just sounds better this way, but then I discovered a “rule” about this. And I learned that authors are more likely to accept editorial changes when I can point them to a rule than when I just say, “Trust me.”
This is typical of human nature. We have a love/hate relationship with rules. We don’t like rules, but we’re unsure how to determine right from wrong without them.
God had a relationship with Adam and Eve that was based on loving trust. The only rule necessary was one that protected them from knowledge that would end in death. But when disobedience broke the trusting relationship, God added more rules to protect the wayward couple and their offspring.
In Christ, God proclaimed once more that the good life He wants for us is not about rules but a relationship. As Paul wrote, all the commandments can be summarized in one word: love. Because we are “in Christ,” we can enjoy peace with God and others—not because there’s a rule, but because there is love. — Julie Ackerman Link
Though freed from the law with its stern commands—
No longer ruled by its harsh demands—
I’m bound by Christ’s love and am only free
To live and to act responsibly. —D. De Haan
The greatest force on earth is not the compulsion of law but the compassion of love.