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Keeping the Rules

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted August 12, 2015

RELIGION – I have one friend who really likes rules. Her son was going to camp and she had to fill out a camp medical form. She did not get the form till the day before we left and she was getting the run around from her son’s doctor’s office on the dates of all of his shots. She was getting all bothered and I told her to just make up some dates. She knew he was vaccinated and it was for a three day camp, not military enlistment.

I assured her that her sins (should any actually be incurred, but I am betting it fine, would be forgiven). I also offered to write the dates for her, but thankfully the doctor came through and no camp laws were broken! I tell you that because some people can be sticklers about the rules!

I read this week about a man who went to throw an orange peel in a trash can in Broxbourne Borough, U.K. Well, the greater portion of the orange peel found its way to the trash can. The lesser portion hit the ground. And for that, a law enforcement officer tagged Luke Gutteridge with a $116 fine for littering. Gutteridge, 29, immediately realized his mistake and swiftly swooped to pick up the errant orange peel. Unimpressed, the enforcement officer upheld the Sept. 3 fine. Gutteridge took the town council to court and in July, won a ruling in his favor, citing English precedent that littering happens only when the offender knowingly intends to leave the trash. The town council has to pay Gutteridge’s $6,200 in legal fees.

So you see the officer, who was clearly having a bad day, refused to show any grace and ended up costing the town 6,200 dollars! A simple “let it go” and the whole waste of time and money would be over! How much trouble do we get ourselves in when we fail to show grace? Think about it. Your wife says something a little rude, she had a bad day at work, you can chose to let it go and be kind or make a big deal and fight for your rights. We have all been there; we know with a little grace, the night will be ok, but instead of doing that we pull a “how dare you speak to me like that!” Then the whole evening blows up over nothing!

1 Peter 4:8 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”This verse is teaching us a few things.
One: that out of God’s love for us He sent His Son to cover our sins, to remove them as far from us as the east is from the west. But Peter here goes further than that!

Two: we should be slow to get hot and angry! I Corinthians 13 tells us that love “thinks no evil.” When we love each other we should practice with each other a grace-filled judgement. We assume the best about others, assigning the best of motives to their actions and forgiving quickly.

Three: Peter is calling us to not even bother to deal with every sin in a given relationship. Peter is saying to not sweat the “small stuff.” Note, however, that he recognizes that the small stuff is still sin and it could eventually be devastating.

When we are wronged, we are wise to do a little moral mathematics. Is this offense one I should let go of? Is it among the multitude that love covers? Or is this wrong so bad that that love means confronting my spouse in grace and letting the person know they hurt me? We would all do well to under-accuse, over-repent and over-forgive. Let us not be afraid to call sin sin, but let us not be slow to forgive it and to look past it.

So some grace in your home and be all the happier for it!

Pastor Phillip

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