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Drug Use Rules

Drug Use Rules

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Exodus 31:15

You may find it odd, but even in my addictive behavior, I had rules governing my drug use. For instance, I never injected drugs and I never deprived patients of their meds so that I could take them. Perhaps even more odd, I looked down on those who broke these rules. When I read about some nurse who took his (or her) patient’s morphine to feed his addiction, I indulged in condescending, judgmental thoughts. What a loser addict. I’d never do that. Never mind that I too struggled with behavior that others would have thought was terrible. At least I’m not as bad as that guy. My rules were a measurement by which I could judge others, which made me feel better about myself. It was a form of control and manipulation which allowed me to ignore my own glaring flaws.

This, I think, is a temptation for most Christians. We believe in the Bible, which is full of rules. We believe that God ordained these rules. So, when we see others breaking the rules, it’s easy to be condescending and judgmental. Never mind that we have our own shortcomings and failings. The rules with which we don’t struggle, allow us to point at others, distracting from our own rule-breaking.

Today’s passage is one of those that seems to reinforce our rule worship. In it, God insisted that his people rest on the Sabbath and anyone who worked on the Sabbath was to be put to death. So, when Jesus came along and his disciples picked grain to eat on the Sabbath, I can hardly blame the Pharisees for objecting. To the Pharisees, it would have been better for the disciples to starve than to pick grain. That’s the rules. If you didn’t prepare food beforehand, that’s your fault. Let that be a lesson to you. Jesus though, pointed out this truth – The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath commandment was made for our own good. When, that rule meant the disciples would have to starve, the rule no longer applied.

As Christians, the temptation is to emulate the Pharisees, demanding that others follow all the rules with which we don’t struggle. The rules though, weren’t put in place simply because God wanted to control us. The rules exist for our own good. As Christians, we must first be introspective, asking how we’re breaking the rules, harming ourselves. If we find ourselves pointing at others, screaming about their rule-breaking, it’s likely that we’re misusing the rules just like the Pharisees did.

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