A: Buddy, about all these rules…haven’t you ever heard the saying “rules were made to be broken?”
B: I believe it’s supposed to be “records were made to be broken;” people merely (and perhaps intentionally, when it’s convenient) confuse the word “records” with “rules” from time to time. After all, what’s the bally use of having a rule, if it was supposedly “made to be broken?” A record, on the other hand, refers to some standard of achievement, and gives others something to shoot for to see if it can be broken. The idea is to see if somebody can stretch himself to the point that he can go beyond the bounds of the previous record and accomplish something even more remarkable. However, a rule typically is something that sets a boundary beyond which people are advised to not go; indeed, it usually is wisest to stay as far away from those boundaries as possible, if it’s a good rule.
This reminds me of that time a prominent writer criticized a university’s decision to suspend one of its star basketball players for breaking its student conduct code, by what was rumored to have been an instance of premarital sex:
Micromanaging the hormones of young people is a profound waste of time…
…[I have] grown fatigued with the “rules is rules” argument, as compelling as a lot of [my] colleagues may find it. In this case…the rules are [stupid].
It may be easy for anyone to conclude from this statement, that if one feels that a certain rule is foolish, or otherwise cannot understand the purpose of it, that person need not feel compelled to follow it. This may be similar to how we may find God’s rules to be from time to time. Obeying such a rule, then, requires faith.
A: Wouldn’t that be a perfect example of blind faith?
B: Recall what we said before about blind faith. We’ll never know all the precise reasons for every single rule of God’s, at least not in this life. God ultimately wants us to obey His commandments because He wants us to trust Him, which is part of eventually receiving His happiness. It may be difficult in some cases, when we don’t know why we should do something God has commanded us to do. This is why I said this life is a test – to see if we’ll do everything He asks us to do, even when it’s hard.
Think about it for a minute. If we kept only those rules that are “easy,” what’s the bally use of even having rules at all? Rules keep us on the track leading to the accomplishment of our goals when we are tempted to stray from that track. If we would keep to the path even without the rules, we may as well discard them; if we can’t, then we need some rules, which will likely be difficult to obey from time to time. A lot of the rules we think are “hard” may be those we don’t completely understand, or think are “a profound waste of time.”
A: Why would you give yourself rules you don’t understand?!
B: I wouldn’t. But God gives us rules we may not always understand, and by no means would I advocate disobeying them – on the contrary, such a situation gives us a profound opportunity for our trust in God to grow, which may lead to His closer guidance, increasing the speed with which we approach His happiness, and so on.
It may also be that God rewards us for exercising faith in Him in this way. From my own experience I’ve noticed that even if I don’t always understand the rules perfectly, yet the more I keep them, the sooner I come to understand them and their purposes later. This understanding comes from God, because a higher understanding about His purposes means that I’m closer to being omniscient, which means I’m more like God than I was before, which is good, and all things good come from God. If I choose, however, to rebel against God’s commandment(s), He will withhold that knowledge and its subsequent blessings, as well as possibly other blessings, from me.