We live in a world that likes rules. We have ‘zero tolerance’ for fighting in school (one of my pet-peeves because the child being bullied is usually the one caught and punished the worst…), etc. But is this the best way to live?
God does not live by ‘rules.’
As we see in the Bible there are always times when God made exceptions. For a BIG exceptions see when God did not punish the women for prostitution as it was kind of the men’s fault in Hosea 4:14….
So then how do we live?
By the Holy Spirit!
But when in doubt, a list of priorities helps.
So ask yourself what is your first priority in any situation.
When dealing with your children it may be a good heart attitude. If your child fails a test because they spent their study time trying to convince a friend not to do something horrible and to do the right thing (and this is not a pattern of excuses used for not studying) then maybe we let this one go.
When dealing with your spouse, the priority is to strengthen your marriage. So when they do not load the dishwasher to your specifications or they do not wash your favorite shirt for when you wanted it, maybe we let this go and understand that they may have been working on another priority even you would agree should take precedence.
Rules are not bad, but they need to be flexible.
Too often we hold onto the rules as ‘right’ and forget why they were there to begin with.
For example, how many poems and wall-hangings have you seen reminding you that a clean house is not as important as time spent with your children? There is a reason for this. The older generation, who in the past liked to cross stitch etc was trying to impart wisdom to the younger generation. Sure, a clean house is nice, and to some level necessary, but it needs to take a back seat to being an involved parent who actually knows their kid. Children grow up so fast (trust me on this one!) that it would be a shame to not be the most important influence in their lives. When you obey the rules blindly you often prioritize things that truly don’t matter as much, such as house-keeping and work and lose the opportunity to bond with your child…
Don’t let your children grow up to resent you for not being there.
Don’t let your spouse distance her/himself because all of your rules are hard to deal with.
Be there for the people you love and make sure your priorities, not your rules, determine what you do next.
Making a list of your priorities and putting on a fridge or mirror is sometimes a good way to start.