By Matt Dawson
When I was a kid, I noticed that when I played games with other kids – whoever was the ALPHA of the group always wanted to change the rules in the middle of a game. This was usually to help them gain some leverage and beat everyone else. Frustrations take root, arguments start, and someone eventually takes their ball and goes home.
I think there is something within all of us to desire some rules – however, we are only in favor of those rules changing if it benefits us… if they benefit others – we become indignant rule followers and DEMAND that things remain unchanged. This is true of 100% of humanity!
The underlying problem we ALL have is that RULE BASED SYSTEMS are BOUND TO CHANGE & MAKE EXCEPTIONS! There is no getting around this issue. Rules exist for a purpose – to CONFORM, to CONTROL, and to DICTATE how things “should” be.
At Journey, we want to start a HUGE conversation this weekend around the RULES and the RULE SYSTEMS that seem to govern all aspects of our relationships (dating, sex, marriage, divorce) and try to understand better WHY THE RULES CONTINUE TO CHANGE and WHO IS CHANGING THEM!
One fundamental truth that you will hear us echo throughout this series is that GOD does NOT address us through a rule-based system that is designed to CONTROL, CONFORM, and DICTATE our lives. THE CHURCH has done a horrible job at helping us understand this, and simply tried to insert God and Christian values into our cultures current rules. This is a problem. God has always given us INSTRUCTIONS that IF followed, move us towards the IDEALS that God CREATED for us BECAUSE God wants the BEST for His kids!
RULES = Change and Creates Exceptions
IDEALS/INSTRUCTION = Never Change and Promotes Freedom
When we begin to see Gods commands as INSTRUCTIONS to FOLLOW not RULES to OBEY, we make choices in FREEDOM not FEAR!
This Sunday, we’re going to start off this conversation talking about DATING. This week will be very impactful for EVERYONE in our church – no matter your age or status. Everyone has to deal with the EVER CONSTANT CHANGING RULES of the Dating World. For many in our church, it’s trying to navigate how to date and even date again (later in life), and for many others in our church who have kids, we are 5 years or LESS away from having to navigate this conversation with our children.
If you were to ask my Grandmother about the “rules” when she was dating – you would see a HUGE contrast in what we consider the rules to be today. My parents operated under a different rules system then I did. Sadly, cultures’ relationship rules change faster and faster and will even change more in the next 5 years.
As a father of an 11 year old girl – there are moments that this brings FEAR to my heart. FEAR for my precious daughter to have to navigate these waters of ever-changing rules and expectations of her as she begins dating.
I need to remember that simply Inserting God’s Ideals/Instructions into our culture’s rules for relationships IS destined to fail her the way it has failed all of us! I want her to remember that God LOVES HER more than she could possibly comprehend and that His instructions, when followed, will give her the FREEDOM to enjoy a healthy and vibrant dating relationship… when she’s 30 and allowed to date 🙂
Seriously, my prayer for this series is that ALL OF US will better understand WHY Culture continues to CHANGE THE RULES and Why GOD’s IDEALS and INSTRUCTIONS can be trusted above all things. They give us FREEDOM (not FEAR) in our choices because HE WANTS US to EXPERIENCE the BEST in our RELATIONSHIPS!