Rules & Writing

While I was speaking on Saturday at the Women's Leadership Conference at Cornerstone University, I surprised myself by saying something I had not thought of before.

I was explaining that it's generally better, in a series, to use short words or phrases first, as in "arts and letters" and "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Early in my editorial career, I would explain to authors that it just sounds better this way. But then I discovered that there really is a "rule" about this. On Saturday, while I was speaking, I realized that authors are more likely to go along with changes I make when I can tell them there's a rule about it than when I just say, "Trust me, this is better."

This got me thinking about human nature and our love/hate relationship with rules. We don't like rules, but we don't believe something is true or right if there isn't a rule for it. So then I started thinking about Adam and Eve and whether God's real reason for giving rules is to find out if we trust him enough to believe what he tells us is good and what is not. When he finds out that we don't trust him, he has to add more rules to protect us from our failure to trust.

In Christ, God proclaimed once more, in yet another way, that the good life he has in mind for us is not about following rules; it's about being in a loving and trusting relationship with him. As a result, we'll also enjoy a good relationship with others—one in which everyone looks out not only for personal interests but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4)—not because there's a rule, but because there is love.