When the Rules Don’t Apply to Me
So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. John 12:10
By the time the coronavirus quarantine began, I’d bought into the belief that we should try to slow the spread of the virus by decreasing our social interaction. By the second week though, I needed to exercise. So, I made clandestine plans to meet a buddy at his garage gym. On my way out the door, my family intervened. Would you be OK with us going to our friend’s house? Why don’t the rules apply to you? I had my reasons. I wasn’t just socializing. I was going for something important – working out.*
This is a life problem for me. I agree that other people should follow the rules. When the rules inconvenience me though, I have excellent reasons for not following them. This might be amusing if it were only about exercising at a friend’s garage during quarantine, but my way has led me down a far more disastrous path. When I wanted pills, I allowed my arrogance to convince me that I deserved it and that I could get away with it.
This is a problem for anyone who believes themselves to be above the rules, which is common for those with any authority – even religious authority. In today’s passage, we’re told how the chief priests sought to kill Lazarus because the people were following Jesus after raising Lazarus from the dead. The religious elite could make a legal case (blasphemy) to kill Christ, but they had no such case against Lazarus. They just wanted him dead because they didn’t like his existence. These priests knew the ten commandments better than anyone, but they wanted something so badly, that they justified murder to get it.
We may not kill those we disagree with, but we often use our preference as our personal morality. We agree with the rules, as long as they agree with us. When we truly desire something we know to be destructive though, we justify. It’s different for me! Right and wrong doesn’t change with our desires though. If we want to walk by faith, living in recovery, we must continually and purposefully choose to do the next right thing, particularly when it isn’t what we want. Following Christ usually means abandoning our way of doing things.
*This entry isn’t about debating the coronavirus quarantine. I may give my opinion on it eventually, but not today. Smarter people than me have disagreed with each other on this subject.