Christianity is not primarily a religion of rules. It is instead a relationship between a holy God and sinful men meditated by grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
However, every relationship needs boundaries. Friendships will last only so long as confidences can be kept. Marriages need faithfulness in order to thrive. Christianity is no different. If we are to relate rightly to God and to one another, we need to keep the rules.
But as N.T. Wright puts it, “The rules [of Christianity] are to be understood, not as arbitrary laws thought up by a distant God to stop us from having fun (or to set us some ethical hoops to jump through as a kind of moral examination), but as the signposts to a way of life in which heaven and earth overlap, in which God’s future breaks into the present, in which we discover what genuine humanness looks and feels like in practice.” N.T. Wright, Simply Christian (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 2006), 225.
I know two parents who reduced some of these rules to one sheet of paper so their children could hang them in their bedrooms and glance at them daily. The hope was that the rules would, over time, become second nature to the kids. I’ve reproduced these rules below and trust you’ll find them helpful.
Love never fails – it’s the most powerful force in the universe.
Love can be as simple as paying careful attention to the people around you or as great as sacrificing your life for someone else.
Study God’s Word – through it your Maker speaks to you. It is the only infallible guide to wisdom.
You will always regret losing your temper.
You will never regret being kind and considerate to others.
Listen to others – try to understand where they are coming from.
When the time comes, speak your mind kindly but firmly – you are smart and have insights others don’t.
Forgive and don’t hold grudges – holding onto anger will make you miserable.
If you’re not sure whether something is right or wrong, don’t do it.
Run as fast as you possibly can from all forms of sexual immorality. Sex is wonderful inside marriage but will tear you up outside of it.
Find something you love to do with your life and do it – don’t let money be the determining factor in all things.
Remember: no matter what happens, you can always call mom and dad. We may be sad for a little while, but we will never stop loving you.