An exception to the rule

Back in 1993, I was a high school teacher at a Christian School. We rotated giving the devotions at our morning staff meeting. On one of the days it was my turn, I gave a devotion on what I thought was the reason that most students got in trouble. As I later discussed it with another teacher, it came to us that it wasn’t just the young people who got into trouble for this philosophy, but adult Christians as well. I prepared a chapel message on it for use later in the year. What was the belief that caused these people to fall? The belief was that they were “an exception to the rule”. They knew what the rules were, they knew that there was a punishment for breaking the rules, but they didn’t believe that the rules should apply to them.  Every time they broke a rule, they had a reason or an excuse why they shouldn’t be punished for breaking that rule. And they were sincere about it. When they were late for school, they believed they had a valid reason why they were late.  If they didn’t turn an assignment in on time, they had a reason why they shouldn’t have to turn it in on time. Adults did that as well. If they don’t give, they have a reason why they don’t give. If they don’t come to church, they have a “good” reason why they don’t come to church. They aren’t denying that there was a scriptural philosophy behind what they ought to do, but just that they had a compelling reason why that didn’t apply to them. They knew the Bible, they knew the teachings of God’s word, they just felt that God wasn’t going to insist on obedience for them. Usually, it was the fault of someone else that caused them to break the rule. And as you read the Bible, you find time after time when people began to blame others for their sin. It began as early as the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve (and by inference – God Himself), and Eve blamed the serpent. Think of when King Saul was commanded by God to go and destroy the Amalakites in 1 Samuel 15. He didn’t destroy them and when confronted by Samuel, he first blamed the people, saying that they had spared the Amalakites. After being confronted again, he admitted he was the one who sinned, but that he did it because he feared the people. God did not accept his excuse. You see, God puts rules in place for a reason, and they apply to all. Sometimes we feel that God is OK with our breaking them because we don’t see a punishment. But God is never OK with our disobedience. And the sooner we accept that we are not an exception to the rule, the sooner we can live in a way that pleases God.