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Just dropping by ... Rules: The pathway to strength

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 30 September 2019

Recently, I heard a rumor a group is trying to change the Bible to make it more politically correct and to accommodate those who are not comfortable with the intolerant way it excludes people who choose diverse lifestyles.

It makes people feel uncomfortable when it says “Thou shalt not …” and condemns certain lifestyle choices.

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If the Bible was just an ordinary book written by ordinary men, it might be plausible to make changes, but the Bible is a rulebook for life. It is a handbook for happiness. Not only that, it is a history book of a people who followed the rules and those who did not. Chapter by chapter and book by book, there are examples of God’s protection of his devoted followers and the destruction and downfall of nations who chose a different path. It is like taking a cross-section of human history and condensing it into a thousand or so pages of success principles. Making changes to the Bible would render it meaningless.

It is interesting how much homage we pay to rulebooks in sports. I have witnessed baseball games where screaming, red-faced coaches pound their index fingers on a page of the rule book as they instruct the umpire on the finer points of the game. Even the crowd gets involved in a nasty manner if the referee at the football game makes a call that doesn’t seem to follow the rules. They are ready to string him up at the next vigilante necktie party. The rules are the law in sports, and we don’t change them for anyone. It ruins the game.

The constitutional government adopted by our founding fathers is also an intricate set of rules that governs people with fairness and equity. Everyone is supposed to be equal under the law. Congressmen strut the floors of the Senate and the House of Representatives and expound the virtues and push the limits of the law. There are rules and procedures that get in the way of the agenda of some but protect the agendas of others. That is the way it is supposed to be. If not, we would degenerate into a dictatorship where we would no longer have a constitution. Rules are important and must be held sacred or, just like in sports, it ruins the game.

Consider what it would be like to have Olympic games without the constraints of rules. Anyone could participate, no matter their experience. There would be no bars of excellence or anything to achieve. If an athlete didn’t like the rules, he or she could change them at will. Imagine the chaos when the medals were passed out. It would be a scramble of the survival of the meanest. Winning the gold would mean nothing, and there would be no high achievers. Rules make great athletes. These athletes spend years learning the rules of their game and playing by the rules so they can have that moment of triumph.

Consider Nadia Comaneci: “Born in 1961, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci became the first woman to score a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event at the 1976 Olympic Games, at age 14. Her performance at the 1976 Olympics redefined both her sport and audiences’ expectations of female athletes. At the 1980 Olympics, Comaneci won gold medals for the balance beam and floor exercise.” (Biography - Nadia Comaneci)

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Nadia did not just jump on the gymnastic bars and swing her body around to become a champion. She became a champion as she learned technique, followed her coach, who knew the rules, and worked every day perfecting her ability to follow the rules perfectly. She would not have done that if there were no rules to inspire her to excellence.

The Constitution is a rulebook for bringing a people to perfect freedom. This freedom allows people to rise out of poverty or stay in the slums. It is their choice. The rules of freedom must be adhered to, apply to everyone and be followed with precision. The Constitution was designed to protect and help everyone. It gave people the ability to dream and achieve.

The American dream is an idea with a promise. If you work hard, learn the rules and apply them, you will be successful. Successful people, just like Nadia, learn the rules and work at them every day. Weak people often stay in the status quo because they do not learn and apply the rules of freedom. Simply stated: People do not become strong with hand-outs but with hands-up and through learning the laws that govern success.

As in sports, people can be taught the laws of success by those who have reached success. Choice makes the difference between the Nadias and the Yevet Tenneys. Because of the Constitution, we get to choose. Let me clarify: There are people with disabilities and problems that cannot be denied, but they are the exception and not the rule. There are plenty of stories of people who have overcome insurmountable odds to become successful. They made the choice not to accept the status quo.

No one would think of changing the rules for the Olympics to allow everyone to participate without a qualifying match and standards of excellence. That is what makes the Olympics prestigious and worth working for. Few who understand the American dream would think of throwing the Constitution under the bus. They will protect it to their very last breath. So why in the world do people think it would be OK to change the rules in the Bible to fit the whims and desires of a few?

The Bible is the rulebook that leads not only to earthly success but success beyond the grave. Even then, if the Bible was just read and applied as a human rulebook for this life, it would be worth it. If everyone applied the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” it would make a huge difference in society.

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Think about the Ten Commandments. How many broken homes would be mended? How many school shootings would not have occurred? How many robberies would not be committed? How many policemen would still be walking the street? How many people would be lifted out of poverty because someone taught them the laws that govern success? How would the world change if people read and applied the letter of Paul to the Corinthians?

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth.
—1 Cor. 13: 1-8 KJV

Jesus Christ is the epitome of excellence in human behavior. If we strive to become like him, it becomes the greatest quest of a lifetime. His stature of greatness far outshines any athlete, religious leader, politician or statesman. The reward of His followers is better than a gold medal at the Olympics. His reward is His daily walk with us. He becomes our teacher and coach. He will bring us joy unbounded, and He promises life everlasting.

Jesus is the ultimate goal of truth seekers everywhere. He asks us to come and follow Him. We cannot become strong enough to walk in His footsteps if we abandon the rules or dilute the meaning of His life. He is the greatest teacher of success principles who has ever lived upon the earth. Prayer makes Him accessible to everyone. We must hold fast to the rules He has given us. If they are changed, they are lost forever.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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