The little guy hopped on a chair, grabbed the handmade Pop-Tart, and flattened the top against his mouth to nibble and lick at the frosting and sprinkles.
.“Now, we already talked about the rules for eating a Pop-Tart,” the young father kindly reminded his toddler.
That made me curious. “Why do Pop-Tarts need rules?”
The dad’s eyes showed a bit of shock, then calmed as he explained his thoughts behind this new rule. The frosting was too sweet, at least more so than the healthier crust and fruity filling.
Is it possible we create and follow nonsensical rules regularly?
Here are a few that come to my mind:
- Close your eyes when you pray.
- Take your shoes off at the door.
- No Christmas décor until after Thanksgiving.
- And, perhaps, Pop-Tarts should be eaten vertically?
Without someone to question these rules, they can be passed down through the generations as the gold standard. How you eat your Pop-Tart or when you decorate for Christmas are inconsequential compared to the number of rules created around religious beliefs.
I grew up in a church environment with a lot of rules. New Christians were welcomed with a short list of dos and a much longer list of don’ts. It’s important for us to work through the list we’ve been handed in life, comparing all these imposed rules against the Word of God.
Every word of God proves true … Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.~Proverbs 30:5a, 6 NLT
Staying true to the Word requires that we know our Bibles.
The kid soon lost interest in the Pop-Tart, a hot coffee got knocked over, and the six of us continued our conversations until all at once the young father looked at me and admitted, “You know, you’re right. Pop-Tarts should not have rules regarding their consumption.”
We’d all do well to sit with some of the rules we’ve made or been handed, question them, and prove them true or false before passing them on. Refuse to exchange the freedom of Christ for man-made rules.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.~Galatians 5:1 NLT
Commit yourself to know the Word of God. Claim your freedom and walk in it. And the next time you’re tempted to create a new rule to guide a toddler, a teenager, or the rest of us, pause and reflect before spouting it out. Maybe the last thing any of us need is more silly, made-up rules.
What are rules you’ve created or been given that need to be truth-tested?
Heavenly Father, help me to exercise the freedom Christ has provided. Help me to resist making rules beyond the truth of Your Word.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2022: The Case for Rule-less Pop-Tarts: Cynthia Mendenhall: All Rights Reserved