I have some personal rules. Sure, I try to abide by the laws of the land. Absolutely, I try to live according to God’s word. Those are important to me and are core values shared by most Christ-followers.
But those rules and values are not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about things that are not necessarily written down anywhere (until now), but that I have strong opinions about. In fact, in my opinionated opinion, life would be better if everyone lived by these rules. I can’t share all of them in 500 words, so here’s a sampling of the most important ones.
Rule No. 1 – I don’t make phone calls before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless I have scheduled it in advance. The reason for this rule? It is my preference. Were you looking for a more logical reason? Hey! My house, my rules.
Rule No. 2 – Don’t call me before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you have scheduled it in advance. The reason for this rule? See rule No. 1.
Rule No. 3 – Never root for the New England Patriots or New York Yankees. These are self-explanatory.
Rule No. 4 – There are three kinds of cars that a teenager should never have: new, fast, cool (or whatever the current word is). New is not good because it doesn’t give them an opportunity to learn the necessary skills of keeping an old one running. Fast is not good because they will want to test its limits. Cool is not good because their friends will want to ride in it, drive it, borrow it.
Rule No. 5 – Unsolicited advice is seldom appreciated. Think about how you have been reacting to my rules. With No. 1 you probably just thought I’m goofy. With No. 2 you thought I was a little bossy. With No. 3 … never mind. With No. 4, you may actually have been offended and wanted to argue the point. Unless you agree with me, in which case you can send this to someone who has stopped listening to your advice.
I didn’t mean that. Please don’t do it. They won’t appreciate it. I promise.
I can’t think of a single time I looked forward to the end of a sentence that started with, “If I were you, I would … ” You’re not me and you can’t be me. Nor can I be you, so please don’t ask me what I would do if I were you.
The message here is not that we should all mind our own business and leave each other alone. One evidence that our lives matter to God is in the way He allows us to do life together. He wants our lives to matter to each other, but our personal – preferences are just that-preferences. Doing life together best means that we point one another to the truth of God’s word and let preferences be what they are.
But, if I were you, I still wouldn’t call me after 9.
Dr. Gerry Lewis is director of missions for the Harvest Baptist Association, which is headquartered in Decatur. He writes a blog at www.lifematterstoday.blogspot.com.