How do we decide which laws to obey and which laws to ignore?
The Jewish Law includes more than The Ten Commandments.
Honoring parents and having no other gods sounds like a good idea, but few people avoid Saturday work. After Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 AD, most Jews no longer felt compelled to offer animal sacrifices.
To comply with the ancient Law, I cannot . . .
- Eat pork or meat from any animal that does not chew grass and have split hooves (Deuteronomy 14:8).
- Eat catfish (Deuteronomy 14:9).
- Have a trimmed beard or short hair above the ears (Leviticus 19:27).
- Get a tattoo (Leviticus 19:28).
- Wear a garment with two types of cloth (Deuteronomy 22:11).
Do I get credit for complying with one of the five? I don’t have a tattoo.
Some laws seem crazy.
- In Alabama, driving blindfolded is illegal.
- Plastic bags are banned in California.
- I can live on a boat in Georgia, but not for more than thirty days.
- I’ll need a good costume to go trick-or-treating in Virginia because I would have to convince people that I’m not older than twelve.
I wonder what strange laws exist in Texas.
The Political Correctness police might be after me.
- If I wear my Santa suit and say, “Ho-ho-ho,” I could be arrested for frightening children.
- Whistling Dixie might label me as a racist.
- Awarding a first-place prize gives everyone else an inferiority complex.
- Saying anything that offends anyone might get me fired.
At my age, I have trouble remembering all the behaviors that are unacceptable. And those are just the ones I’ve heard about.
How can a law-abiding citizen know what to do?
Instead of trying to avoid doing wrong, perhaps I need to focus on doing right. How do I do that? I need to love everyone, even my enemies, because the apostle Paul says love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10).
Without exception, every time I know to do good, I face an option to go my own self-serving way. But I find greater pleasure in serving God, which satisfies who I really am. — Romans 7:21–22