The Parable of the Rule
By Rodney Rountree
(from "God is Still Speaking: Parables for Today")
A parent taught two children to be careful crossing the street with the following rules: always look both ways to see that it is safe, only cross when the light is red, only cross in the crosswalk. The children were obedient and always followed the rules. They even wrote them down in a book so as not to forget them. As time went on, they received many other rules, which they also wrote down. Much time passed and the children grew in strength, stature and wisdom. One day, the parent said to the children. "You have done well and have learned much. From now on, I trust that you will always look both ways and be careful when you cross the street. You do not have to cross in the crosswalk only, but wherever it is safe.” One child heard the parent and did accordingly, but the other refused to change the rules in the book and kept fast to them always. The children argued and each chastised the other for disobeying. Who then is obedient to the parent?
Lesson: A good parent guides their children as they grow, giving them rules according to their ability. When a parent modifies a rule or even changes a rule for older children, it is not a demonstration of inconstancy, fallacy or weakness, but of the recognition of their growth and need to adjust to changes in the world around them. In some cases, a parent may even provide different rules for different children according to their needs and ability. Why then do so many people expect less of God and insist that his laws are never changing? I suspect one reason is to exert power over others, by insisting that they follow rules that may not always be applicable or even reasonable in today’s world. This “hardness of heart” does not come from God. Listen to God speaking.