Every time the disciple started establishing rules – no children near Jesus; don’t let the crowd touch Jesus; don’t talk to Samaritan women; don’t let people waste expensive perfumes – Jesus told them to knock it off, and His rebuke was usually followed by a lecture that said, “You still don’t get it! We are not substituting religious rules with our rules. We are substituting religious rules with Me!” Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “Follow My rules.” Most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus. What a tragedy. What a misunderstanding of who Jesus is. ~ Michael Yaconalli
When I was little, I loved to color but I was always careful to never color outside the lines. Following the rules was so important to me that I took my crayon and outlined inside the lines before I would begin to color the picture. I was desperate not do it wrong.
I carried that mindset into my adult life. While others found the lines to be constraining and stifling, I liked knowing exactly what I was supposed to do and how to do it. I saw following the rules as a simple equation: good behavior = a good person.
It’s not surprising that I joined a church rife with rules. I lived life almost entirely by rules – a mix of church rules, family rules, community rules and several random rules that I made up myself, just to be safe.
Because it was safety I was seeking. Safety from ever making a mistake; safety from letting others down; safety from condemnation and criticism; safety from being anything short of pleasing.
Then one day I found myself looking at a picture that was just an outline of a life, re-outlined by me, but always waiting to be colored.
Jesus kept saying “Follow Me,” not “Follow My rules.” Most of us have spent our Christian lives learning what we can’t do instead of celebrating what we can do in Jesus. What a tragedy. What a misunderstanding of who Jesus is.