The RULE OF THE ROAD is the law of Love. These words seem hopelessly idealistic and possibly futile as we look at all that is happening in the world round about us. Yet this law of love is the basis of new life in Christ. It is God’s way of putting what is wrong in a world where hatred abounds.
Hatred is a poison. It blinds us to reason, provokes jealousy, inhibits relationships and makes effective co-operation impossible. Hatred is deadly. If it dwells in the heart there is no peace. Globalisation has woken us up to the fact that we cannot live in isolation. We are all one body. We are connected. A common life-stream circulates through the system and the only cure to poisoning us is the purification of the blood stream.
Christians claim that the Cross of Christ was God’s blood transfusion. Jesus stood up to poisonous hatred and refused to capitulate. His disciples adopted his law of love as the RULE OF THE ROAD. This resolve brings a new determination to meet basic human need and secure the freedom that comes from active involvement in restorative justice. Transformation becomes our business. We persevere with humble acts of kindness and self-giving. Over time we become (like the butterfly) new creatures, sensing the reality of God at work created by deeds of love.
This is not merely a warm glow. Love is costly. It is always the neighbour who has the first claim. Yet Jesus pushes the boundaries. We soon realise that some will like and others will dislike us. Having goodwill towards all poses a serious challenge. How to obey the RULE OF LOVE turns into a clear challenge when wrong has been done. Bitterness resides in the heart towards the wrong doer.
A heart unwilling to forgive is a heart out of tune with God. This was the language of the Wesleys. It’s the cry that comes from the Cross. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The essence of forgiveness is a restoration of relationship. Take Job as a prime example. Job’s friends had not been kind to him and he felt bitterly towards them. “The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends”.
Wesley began to “pray for those who had despitefully used and persecuted him” after his conversion on Wednesday 24 May 1738 in Aldersgate Street, London. This principle of forgiveness, hard as it is to put into practice, lies at the very heart of the Christian way of life. We also read that Jesus chose disciples “that they might be with him“. For three years they had shared life together. The disciples “got Jesus”. They caught his attitude to life’s problems. they began to share his insights, look on the world through his eyes and felt as he felt.
They caught something of His infectious enthusiasm for God. His loving spirit ignited their own spirit, turning them in deed and truth into one Body indwelt by one Spirit. Christ lived in them. Jesus found a way to weld them into a team. they learned to sink their personal differences, swallow personal resentments and adjust their various outlooks for His sake and the Kingdom. Jesus gave them a vision of the RULE OF GOD at work in the life of the world. He said “the Kingdom of God is among you”.
The hymnwriters describe him as the “one who breaks down the barriers and casts up the way”. Jesus not only taught the way. He actually took it Himself obeying the law of love every step of the way. He left a living legacy in a body of people (disciples) who not only understood his way of life but were living it. All things are possible when we follow the RULES OF THE ROAD.