In order for any family to function its members follow codes of behaviour either consciously or without being aware of it. These codes are often not directly stated with words, but the ones that are spoken - the family's internal rules - are almost without exception based on the unuttered ones.
In a polygamous family with many people who are grown up, it is naturally nescessary to actually express more of the rules vocally, as the responsibility is shared with more women than in a monogamous marriage. This has two sides to it. The drawback is that it takes longer for all to be satisfied, but the blessing is that once all are satisfied, one may rest sure that the rules are not just made up unconsciously or without having been thought up carefully (unless all the parties involved are blind in a particular area). The saying goes: Two minds think better than one.
Now, as a mother, and a person who has always lived together with a lot of people, it may seem like it has taken me a long time to arrive at the conclusion I want to present today, because it has actually just dawned on me within the last month - though I have come to it through a gradual process. I would like to suggest that rules can either put people into bondage or liberate them, and that the determining factor for which result it will produce is whether it is based on fear/hatred or love.
In an earlier article I tried to illustrate that God's Law liberates us, and now I would like to take that one step further and say that it is so because it is based on love for us. I think no Christian doubts that God loves us. Yah'shua's (Jesus') death on the cross for our sake is the ultimate witness of that. Every commandment He has given is from love; indeed Elohim (God) is Love. Now lets have a look at the opposite.
These were men who didn't care for Elohim's (God's) Law of love, and certainly did not love the people they were supposed to minister that Law to. In fact Yah'shua (Jesus) has more to say on these:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to" (Matthew 23:13).
Which means that not only did they hold back the true Law, they even made their own laws to burden their converts with. (If you read all Matthew 23:13-39 it is plain to see that their rules were not loving).
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are" (v 15).
Now, hatred and fear are often well mixed, and I shan't try to seperate the two here, because any rule that is based on either kills. I will simply refer to fear here as there are very few parents who actually make rules because they hate their children or families (and if that was the case, they would probably not bother to read or take any notice of this article). I shall now try to illustrate my point.
If a mother has her mother-in-law visiting, and fears to give a bad impression of her ability as a mother, rules can easily be made that are based on panic rather tha rational thinking. Let's say she abruptly interupts her children's quiet talk and franticly tries to make them sit still and not utter a word. The result is always fidgity children who may even start screaming! Why? Because they sense that the rule is not there to their benefit - but rather it invades their freedom that they have always been given. The mother would have been wiser if she had prepared the children in advance, and showed them that their grandmother would like it better if they were still (then they would know the loving reason) and the mother would not have to worry about her own fears of being a good mother. Or she could also consider if the rule of silence was at all needed. Might not the grandmother get closer to the children if they spoke together?
To make loving rules takes a bit longer and requires a bit more thought - but they also work better, and satisfy all parties. Rash rules that are made out from fears like 'this cannot continue for another minute, what will happen to me (or whoever one tries to protect)' have only a short-term effect, and actually classifies the one the rule is imposed upon as a 'hopeless case'. People sense when that is done, and it either makes them rebell or give up.
Now, rebellion also occurs to righteous rules. Elohim's (God's) Laws are being broken every day by every person on the planet. But no-one has lost anything, or become worse whilst obeying them, only breaking them has made them lose hope or given them over to despair. A law made from unloving fear does take away people's hope and will finally make them despair if followed.
An important aspect of love is patience. Perfection takes time. If you love someone you will wait for it - just like Yahweh waits for us. Constantly reminding, yet keeping calm, and who should better understand that a person is imperfect than another one? Yet Yahweh is far more understanding than any of us. Another aspect of love is that it desires for the person to be set free. If you know a rule that is loving, you would also like for the child to learn it as soon as possible so that it may experience the freedom from the problem/sin (like for instance greed), that is where the constant urging comes in.
In short, every rule should be made for the person it is given too, not because of making other people's lives easier. No person is more important than another and all need love - even sinners. When a person is set free from bad behaviour by learning to live by loving rules, all will benefit.
May Yahweh bless and teach us all, and let us all learn to live by His rules. Amen.