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October 8, 2006
Rules vs. RelationshipsThose of us who have a loving relationship with someone, be it a parent, a spouse,
a child, or a friend, know that this relationship guides our motives in relation to our actions. A good example of this is a loving parent. Such a parent does not need the rules of the state in order to motivate their lives. They automatically see to it that their child is well provided for in all facets of their life. Good and loving parents do not wait until the truant officer comes to the door before they decide to send their child off to school. They don’t wait until the principal calls before they insist on their child wearing proper clothing for the winter. The list goes on and on.
There are many times when parents need to insist on certain matters in order to fulfill their loving relationships. Regardless of how much resistance the child puts up, the parents know what they must do for their child simply because they love them. This means that they want their child to be healthy, well balanced and happy. Accomplishing these goals is not always easy but most parents will agree that it is well worth the effort
The only people who “need” rules are the people who do not understand what love really means. Rules are made for those people who have no loving relationships. For them, life is simply a difficult situation that needs to be endured. Providing for the welfare of others, whether they be adults of children, is seen as a responsibility they have become stuck with. People with no loving relationships have great difficulty doing anything for anyone without feeling that they are being put upon. Therefore, they are always looking for the easy way out, always looking to see if they can possibly get away with something.
The very same situation applies to our Christian faith. Being a Christian means having a loving relationship with God and his son Jesus Christ. This relationship is essential if we are going to be well balanced and happy individuals. Living in this world without such a relationship is analogous to living in a house with people we pretend don’t exist. Having a loving relationship with the God that loves us can make our lives much happier. That doesn’t mean that life will always be a picnic. Family life is not always a picnic either but we wouldn’t give it up easily, would we?
If more Christians understand their faith in this way, the Church would not be obliged to dictate numerous rules and regulations. We shouldn’t need rules in order to prove our love and gratitude for God. If we find ourselves dreaming up reasons that could excuse us from our responsibilities as Christians, we know that there is something wrong with our relationship with God. We need to revisit our status with God. Perhaps we need a little reconciliation. Perhaps we need to spend some serious time getting to know this God that wants to be in a loving relationship with us. We need to spend some time talking to him, listening to him, being angry with him if need be.
The rule of thumb is: the more rules you need to keep you in line, the less you love. How many rules do you need in your life? Maybe this would be a good time to take inventory and then, experience this loving relationship.
Lorette P. Nault