Isn’t Following Jesus All About Following Rules?
Last week, one of my friends made a point – she said it’s perfectly obvious that Christianity is all about following rules. “I can’t do this. I can’t do that. I have to follow this. I have to follow that. What’s the purpose of life if I can’t live my life the way I want it, without boundaries imposing on my freedom.”
Christianity and Rule-keeping
Astute observers of Christian faith or non-believers have assumed that following Jesus means following a set of rules, which most people don’t want to follow.
This is the kind of negative view I used to receive back in the day I became a Christian.
“There’s no truly loving your neighbor as yourself, it’s all about maintaining a status quo order of religious law, where God is the supreme judge.”
And, such conflict was not born today. If you look back to the 60s and 70s, long skirts on girls and short haircuts for boys were assumed to be not a by-product of accident, but rather a set of rules and restrictions that humans must pay for sinning against God.
Okay, so let’s start looking for answers.
There’s no denying that we live in where there are very loud, jarring voices, saying – on every bit of grass you walk on and on any corner you live in the world, rules will be telling you what to do.
We cannot deny that the society we live in controls our daily lives – from how fast you drive to which side of the road you walk and how you dress. Sometimes, it feels as if you’ll need permission to breathe.
Okay, okay, I get that we are constantly surrounded by rules and regulations. But, aren’t that enough rules in one life? Why the hell would I want to add more?
I’m not done explaining.
See, what is the purpose of rules? Why do they exist for?
They are here to condemn you the moment you step out of line.
When you’ve gone too far on that accelerator, you know the speed camera is all set to snap at you. (Oh and don’t forget to say “cheese”). And, this step will cost you more than a few dollars.
So, if you look at it closely, in this already-radical world, these rules only exist, waiting for you to commit an offense, to pour all its condemnation and punishment on you.
But, if you take this similar perspective and apply it to Jesus Christ, it just won’t fit.
Before you counterargue, let us see why!
Jesus Christ and Rules
The message of the rules of this world is to wait till you speed on and see how I hand you that speeding ticket.
Not that I’m saying there is no God in Heaven who will be ready to brandish a red card to you as soon as you go beyond the line.
See, I won’t deny the fact that there was that radical rule-keeping in the religious structure. And, they were as confining as the prison cells of the USP ADX Florence.
But, that applied only to the Old Covenant.
When Jesus Christ came, his message was completely different. Unlike the rules, He didn’t come to condemn or punish you.
The God in heaven created humans who have hurt him. And, please stop assuming that their offense only included breaking a few rules. It went far than that. It all came from not trusting, not loving and turning your hearts against the one who loves you the most. A concept I think most of us are familiar with – and this time, I’m not talking about God.
But, despite our rebellious behavior, God was compassionate enough to send His only son to save us. Someone who will not judge us. Someone who will not condemn us for our sins.
He came as our friend and not as our judge.
More than your conformity to rules, He is only looking for you to open your heart to Him.
And, that’s what true Christianity is about. Well, at least for me.
Maybe you’ve heard about Christianity before, but never about the true freedom, it offers you. Now, you know!