"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain..."
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy....you shall not do any work..."
"Honor you father and your mother..."
"You shall not murder."
"You shall not commit adultery."
"You shall not steal."
"You shall not bear false witness..."
"You shall not covet..."
"Do not enter..."
"Do not let..."
"Do not turn..."
"Do not abandon..."
"Do not forsake..."
"Do not envy..."
"Do not contend..."
"Do not withhold..."
"Do not be wise in your own eyes..."
Wow, is our God really a God of "Thou Shalt Not's"? Have you ever heard (or even felt) that the Bible is full of rules and regulations that tell us all the things we CAN'T do. Is God trying to supress our fun in life? Is he trying to pin us down to a life of boredom? Does he just want us to be robots that follow rules blindly? Why do you think God has put these fences around His sheep?
As parents, have you ever been accused of being too strict? Of setting too many boundaries? Laying down too many rules? Doling out punishment "unfairly" when these rules are broken? Why have you, as a parent, put these fences around your children?
Fences, not walls. Fences that can be climbed, pushed down, broken through. Not walls that are impossible to penetrate. We have free will, we can choose to disobey God. Our children can choose to disobey us. But in both cases, there will be consequences to that choice. Those fences are there for protection, because our loving Father knows the dangers that lie beyond. He cares for us, he knows what our sinful, careless hearts are capable of, and He is warning us to stay within the safety of His protection. We do the same as parents...
This past Saturday night there was an awful accident in our normally quiet little city. Four young teenage friends were dropped off at the mall by their parents. At some point, they decided to take a city bus downtown to see the cool shops.
I don't know the answer to this, but I wonder if this was within their boundaries? Were their parents aware that they would be leaving the Mall area? Or were they jumping fences?
After spending some time downtown, they decided to go to the beach. It was nearly 6:30, and it was dark, they decided to take what they thought was a shortcut.
The teens, 3 girls and one young man, all around 15 years of age, decided to cross this trestle bridge...
The signs were posted. NO TRESSPASSING. DANGER! DO NOT CROSS. At least one fisherman near the bridge warned them not to cross this dangerous bridge. They did not heed the warning, instead they began the long walk to the other side. As the young man made it safely across, he heard a train coming. He turned just in time to see it barrelling toward his 3 friends. He yelled to them to run, then he yelled to them to jump. They were flustered, confused and, no doubt, full of fear. They didn't jump. As the train came around a curve, imagine the frantic feeling the engineer must have felt. The bridge suddenly came into sight, he pulled on his emergency brake, but there was no time for the heavy train full of cars to stop. All 3 of those girls were hit and killed in the middle of the bridge.
There were signs....warnings. Now there is a price to be paid. My heart breaks for that young man, who will play that picture over and over again in his mind. Will he beat himself up with guilt? Will this change the person he could have become someday? Will this affect his parenting, his relationships in the future? There is a long line of consequences to disobedience. The consequence for the girls was death, but it doesn't end there. Their families and friends are forever scarred, pain, hurt, depression, anger, frustration...all consequences.
What about the witnesses? Why should they have to suffer now? Nightmares? Pictures in their minds, wishing they could have stopped them.
How about the train's engineer? How must he feel? He had no choice, he could do nothing. There are signs, which should make it safe for him to come around that corner and safely cross a bridge. The signs were ignored, and now he must live forever with the memory of this incident in his mind and heart.
I ache for these people, all of them. I ache at the sadness of what happense when we ignore "Thou Shalt Not...". We are NEVER the only ones affected by our decision to disobey.
Are there signs in your life that you are ignoring? Are you secretly taking nails out of your protective fencing? Are you dancing along the edge of a dangerous railway? Heed the signs...RUN! JUMP! Do whatever it takes to turn away...the rules, the signs, the boundaries...they are there because you and I are loved. Our heavenly Father loves us more than we will ever understand in this life. He has laid this out for our protection, for our safe passage through this world and into His loving arms.
Heed the signs.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."