From “Wild Card” to “Grace Card”
Have you ever tried playing a game with a child and somewhere in the midst of the game, the rules suddenly changed (usually to the child’s advantage), and you were unaware of the changes? For example, you go to lay down your card and apparently, the card that you played moments ago followed the rules just fine, but now the rule no longer applies because the child has created a new rule for the game so they can win.
Do you notice a problem with this scenario? How can you ever have a chance of winning if the child is going to change the rules every time to their advantage? This idea seems to be playing out in our society on a daily basis. If a person does not get their way in life, then they make their best attempt to change the rules to fit their needs.
How many times have you heard of people suing someone else because: they turned away services to a gay couple, or a teacher who was sued by a parent because they didn’t “meet Sally or Joe’s needs just right”, or how about a customer suing a restaurant because their coffee or apple cider was too hot. All of the above have one thread in common-the desire to change the rules to fit their own needs.
But who exactly has established these rules and rights to change? Yep, you guessed it. We did. Man did. I don’t mean just men here, I am referring to human kind. Ever since that wily snake manipulated Eve’s words in the garden, man has been attempting to slightly modify the rules in order to justify actions. “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”. (Genesis 3:3)
Wait a minute Eve! Wait…a… minute. God said what? Not to touch the fruit. I don’t think so. God said “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”(Genesis 2:16). Do you see anything mentioned about Adam and Eve having to keep their hands off of the tree? No. Why not? Because Eve added the additional part to justify her actions. She changed the rules!
In life, there are only two lenses to look through: Man’s way or God’s way. Man’s way establishes ideas and rules to justify the end means. God’s way sets rules that are boundaries for our own protection as a moral compass. He didn’t ask us if we liked the rules. He just asked us to follow them.
That’s the hard part because we humans are not good at keeping the rules. Instead, we like to modify them just a bit and add our own twist to them. But, God says when you break just one rule, not two or three, but one, you are breaking them all. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”(James 2:10).
God includes rules such as having hatred in your heart is no different than murder, (1 John 3:15) or looking at a woman in a lustful way is equal to adultery. (Matthew 5:28) What crazy laws he has, but the truth is, we break these rules not because we are always trying to, but because we are sinners who have broken God’s good and perfect laws.
Now, before you turn away and stop reading this article, hear me out. This seemingly impossible lifestyle does have a remedy and his name is Jesus Christ. He was born into this world without sin (That’s another story), and because he chose to sacrifice himself for us. Yes, that includes you! He took upon all of our sins and like a criminal; he was hung on a cross to die for doing nothing wrong. Why you might ask? Because he loves us with an agape love- a selfless love. By giving up his life in exchange for ours, he has given us a gift of grace so that we may be saved from God’s punishment for breaking His rules. You wouldn’t expect a criminal to get off for his crime now would you? So, why would we expect God to let us go?
I don’t know about you, but to me, having someone give me a free pass for my poor choices sounds pretty good. The question is, will you accept the gift that has been offered to you?
What great insight, Renee, about changing the rules from not touching the tree.