Rules Were Not Made To Be Broken
by Dan Blankenship
I remember the first time I heard the saying “rules were made to be broken.” I was around the age of eight when an older child tried to use that line to convince me that throwing rocks on the playground was okay. I didn’t listen. Our recess monitor had made it perfectly clear that the throwing of rocks would result in a paddling –a form of punishment that was still allowed back in the seventies.
In my lifetime, it’s amazing how many times I have heard that false statement used to justify bad behavior and rule breaking. Have I broken laws, circumvented rules, and committed actions that might be considered illegal? Yes. Am I proud of that fact? No. And I refuse to explain away my guilty actions as excusable. Rules were not made to be broken.
Romans 13:1 (NIV) tells us that, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” I believe the author, Paul, repeated the decree in parallel sentences because he knew it was a bitter pill to swallow. After all, some people live under very bad governments. Imagine being a Christian in North Korea or Iran. Did Paul actually mean Christians should even submit to these authorities? I believe he did.
I recently watched a special report by Amy Kellogg, of the Fox News Channel, concerning the Iranian government. I was amazed at how the average citizen in Iran managed to follow the strict Islamic State rules while still being independent in his or her thinking. The Iranian people do not have to break the rules in order to build momentum in what I consider to be a nonviolent revolution taking place in that country. The people are gaining more and more freedom, and I believe such change comes from God.
An omnipotent God is ultimately in control of when a nation throws off tyranny and oppression. Millions prayed (for many years) that the former Soviet Union would crumble and that religious freedom would reign in the former communist controlled empire. God did not ignore those prayers. He sent two great leaders into the political arena (U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev), and those leaders set about the events that led to the collapse of one of the most oppressive governments in world history. Today, hundreds of millions of people are now uninhibited to openly worship the God who set them free from both worldly and spiritual captivity.
In America, most of the rules we abide by are not in direct conflict with our Christian faith. And the rules that do conflict with our beliefs do not usually affect us directly (e.g., abortion rights). We are truly blessed to live in such a society. Most of the laws we live under are in place to ensure that everyone can go about their daily lives without severe conflict, major interruptions, or the infliction of major physical or mental harm. Rules exist to make civilization healthy. They allow humans to pursue happiness without impeding others in the same quest.
There is no doubt that some laws need to be changed, and in mid-1950s until 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set a great example of how to protest against unjust laws through peaceful protests. He did not support nor condone violence, and his wisdom came from studying God’s word – God’s promises to mankind. Dr. King’s efforts forever changed the way our government enacts legislation – equality is now a mandatory stipulation our legislatures must consider evaluating the role of government. Civil rights are now a part of our society because a God-fearing man decided to make a peaceful stand, and his dreams eventually came to fruition, though his efforts cost him his life.
Most of the time, when people say “rules were made to be broken”, they are talking about simple matters – chewing gum in class, J-walking, or cheating on an exam. These items are not earth-shattering crimes against humanity, but nonetheless, it is not these rules that need to be broken or amended, fought against, or peacefully protested. When people break the simplest of rules or laws, they are in a sense making a mockery of people whose entire lives are turned upside down by truly unjust and unnecessary rules – regulations that can sometimes even lead to execution. So the next time someone tells you that “rules were made to be broken”, ask them if that’s a rule, ‘cause if it is, it’s the one that needs to be broken and tossed into the trash heap of useless sayings.