As a people, we collectively think our society is moral.
As an individual, we singularly believe we live life "by the rules".
Whose "rules"? And how do we intellectually "justify" our own particular deviations FROM those rules?
In society, we have laws. Years ago, our legal codes were primarily based on Judeo-Christian morality - laws paralleled the content of the Ten Commandments and other teachings on morality from the Patriarchs, the Prophets, and Christ.
But that was then. This is now. "Townhall.com" suggests that there are at least 5000 Federal criminal laws, with an additional 10,000 to 300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. That's at the Federal level. When you get down to "locals", it gets even more absurd. Did you know that you can be jailed in Gainesville, LA for eating fried chicken with a fork?
Do you know all the rules the world is trying to enforce upon you? It's a foolish question, isn't it.
But when we look at our Christian faith, we don't find this level of complexity. When the young lawyer came to Jesus he asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered that he must "keep the commandments," and the Lord echoed the Ten to the young man, adding at the end, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Mat 19:16-22)
You might say, "But Father, there certainly are others. Jesus also said, "Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) He said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53)
So, there ARE more "rules". Confess your sins. Give alms. Be 'the servant'.
Yes, they're there, but you KNOW them, you remember them. They are few. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." (Mat 11:30) St. Paul says we are to "show the work of the Law written on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or excusing them." (Rom 2:15)
God's Law IS law! All of the man-made statutes and regulations help us not at all in what must be our singular focus related to 'rules' - and that focus must be finding our way to eternal life. Worldly laws will not help us get there!
I've observed the following in my own life. I have lived in such a way so as to harm no others. But I have NOT lived to help them.
I have lived to be at peace with my neighbor, but I have NOT loved him as our Lord has instructed me.
And so, I am guilty.
May our Lord find within me a truly repentant heart, one that desires with all its ability to conform it (and me) to His expectations for me.
Guide us all, Lord, to walk YOUR path, to seek YOUR will, to live as YOUR servants in all faith and love. Help us to live fully within Your love for us.