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Why do we break rules?

Current rules are in place to protect us and the population from the spread of coronavirus. Those in public office have done all they can to steer the United Kingdom through the pandemic. Gradually, as vaccination progress’ there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. It may, then, be time to look back and reflect on our own actions throughout this pandemic.

Staying on the right side of the law is relatively straightforward. However, being confined to one form of exercise a day, travelling no further than five miles, maintaining physical distancing and mandatory face coverings takes its toll and we can drop our guard at times.

We find this across all countries. A Welsh MP accused of non-essential travel, a Scottish MP travelling with Covid symptoms, a former MP’s dinner party, and several Sinn Féin ministers in attendance at Bobby Storey’s funeral. All have subsequently apologised, but nonetheless they have broken strict rules that we were all expected to comply with.

Contrary to popular belief rules are not made to be broken but rather help guide actions toward desired results and most of the population are patient, law-abiding citizens.

Perhaps there have been times where circumstances govern our decision making and we justify bending of the rules to suit ourselves. We can understand how hard it is during lockdown not to be able to visit family and elderly loved ones. However, the other side of the coin we would not be so sympathetic to, house parties and unlawful breaks. Rule breakers are rightly condemned. There are, however, deeper seated issues behind some breaches linked with mental health issues and domestic abuse with which we have sympathy.

Sadly, behind every broken rule there is a deeper problem, which the Bible - Gods word - describes as sin. These include lying, envy, pride, adultery and much more. These clearly are sins against God. We are all guilty of making claims and promises which we fail in. We speak of keeping God’s law and being good people, but in reality, as lawbreakers we are sinners. Sin is an uncomfortable reminder of our dirty laundry that we would rather keep hidden than exposed. We brush up well before our peers, but God sees our hearts and knows our true nature.

The Bible says we are all guilty of breaking Gods law and therefore righteously condemned before him. Gods word says that there is nobody righteous for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sin matters because sin has separated us from God and if unforgiven will result in eternal banishment from Him. However, the Good News of the Gospel is that, although we rightly deserve Gods judgement as lawbreakers, we can graciously know Gods forgiveness and mercy: But how is that possible? Well, God has demonstrated his love toward us, even while we were sinners, by sending his Son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sin by dying on the cross. The Lord Jesus a sinless man died for guilty people like you and me. God made his Son to be sin for us so that we might have the opportunity by trusting in the Lord Jesus to be saved from eternal judgement. He who died rose again from the dead so that we might know a living, life giving Saviour and have the certainty of being with the Saviour in heaven after our life here is ended.

Similarly, like lockdown we are all in the same boat when it comes to our sin. It has offended our creator God, but God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14) and whoever believes in Him will not perish but have Everlasting Life (John 3:16) - the very precious words and promise of the Lord Jesus. I. Rees

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