One day in the summer I happened to be alone in a room with two of my grandsons, and the older boy proudly informed his younger sibling that rules were made to be broken. It was an ‘I am cool’ kind of statement that I chose to quickly respond to. “That’s great isn’t it Silas” I said, “your brother is telling you that it is okay to go into his room and help yourself to his stuff.” Naturally there is a rule in the home that protected each persons’ possessions, a rule that Sam quickly reminded his brother that he was not to break. I am sure that Sam had not thought through his initial statement, just as all of us often do not think through the rules that we think we can ignore.
Currently the road we live on is undergoing some quite extensive construction. They are replacing a lot of pipes, and it is causing a lot of disruption. The road that lies perpendicular to ours has been affected too, and there are clear signs indicating that the road is closed to everything except local traffic. Yet when I walk along that road there are frequently drivers who prefer to ignore the signs and drive on that road rather than take a slightly longer diversion. They are breaking the rules. Then there are the speed limits. I think we have all broken those. Even the slower drivers. Many times I have been on a road that has a limit of 80, and the car in front of me does not want to go over 60. But guess what, when we enter the 50 limit that same driver often continues at 60! Yes, most of us have broken the speed limits at one time or another.
Jesus broke some rules too. Not rules that God made, but some of the extra rules that the Sadducees and Pharisees came up with. Jesus healed on the Sabbath! That made him popular with some people, but definitely not the Pharisees. Jesus permitted his disciples to pick heads of wheat on the Sabbath. What was Jesus doing? He was showing what the Father’s priorities are. He was not standing up for his rights, or even the rights of others, he was simply doing good, and showing us the heart of the Father. I am not doing that when I drive at 110 on our local highway.
There are a lot of angry people right now. I am not one of them, but not because I have got it together and other people have not. My priority is spending time with the Father. I give thanks, I worship, I dance, I read the Scriptures, I pray some more. And the Father gives me a peace which passes understanding. And there is more.
A post came up on my Facebook feed yesterday that said, “All of you who are wearing a mask – where is your faith?” There were a lot of comments, and I did not add to them, but I took it to the Father and asked him what I should be having faith for right now. And I felt the Holy Spirit responding to me “Unity.” We get scared, we become angry, we do not trust our leaders, we break the rules because we think they are wrong. Or we do not break the rules, we just complain about them. Then we start taking sides, for and against this, or that, or whatever. Some of the issues are important, others less so, but how we express ourselves is very important. Standing outside a Planned Parenthood facility and yelling obscenities at a young girl going to get an abortion is never right. Neither is, as happened recently to a friend of mine, winding your car window down and yelling at a person because they chose to wear a mask when they go for a walk. As part of the family of God we should be endeavouring to be kind to one another. Paul says it well in Ephesians “Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.”
I don’t know if you noticed, but Paul did not say to forgive those who ask for forgiveness? Forgive the person who you think is doing it wrong. Forgive the person who has hurt you and that does not seem to bother them. Forgive the person who you think is doing stupid things. Pray for them too, but not from a heart of anger, rather from a heart that knows that I have also done some pretty stupid things, and the Father has forgiven me.