I have been thinking a lot about rules we place on ourselves – and for many – these rules are based on the faith system they follow. If you know me, I have no problem with rule of law and the spirit and intent of laws to protect society…it makes sense to have something like that to help weed out people in society that are seeking to harm other people (which seems to be the intent behind the law – to protect individuals).
Rules play a big part of what it means to be a caring person in society. Many times we don’t realize that until we feel the effect of the rules being broken on some personal level.
In the bigger, more societal. scheme of things someone breaking into your home and stealing your hard earned property is a good example. No one likes that I am pretty sure. So they made a law to protect us from such incidences or for a way to extract justice for such an act against ‘us’ or ‘society in general’.
But rules also work in the sense they guide us in our direction. In the case of breaking n entering – well the rule for us to follow is if we steal something from our neighbor we will be held to the penalty of the law. It serves as a warning about which behaviors will and will not be tolerated in a decent and honest society. I think we can all admit we don’t mind being protected by such laws.
The law is basically just a set of rules that society has deemed as an acceptable standard for ‘good living’. We also play a real big part in the scheme – our personal self-discipline in such areas of theft, property damage, violence, etc. We also need to make the law more personal to ourselves – so that we personalize the ethics of the law into our own lives (or the spirit of the law).
Which brings me back to the biblical ethics of the Tanakh as translated in the NT. Those ideas in the NT find their basis in the laws of Torah and how they were meant to improve the lives of people – namely the reader’s societal imprint. When one thinks of these NT scriptures they need to realize this seems to be the intent of what the teachings meant (to make life better and not worse).
So when someone tells me they fear restrictions and rules being placed on people it’s pretty obvious they have not reflected deeply enough on what rules and restrictions they have put on their own lives (for the better most likely). Self discipline (or introspection practices) all revolve around such an idea of us dealing with our societal imprint and how we can improve…and that my friends is how society revolves day to day.