Have you ever heard any of these sayings?:
“The Bible is just a bunch of rules…”
“This school has too many rules!”
“I want out of this house and on my own so I won’t have any rules!”
To be an effective Christian that is serving, honoring, and bringing glory to God, there must be rules, and the rules must be obeyed. One sign of maturity is when a person understands that rules are for their protection, and they actually liberate us rather than enslave us. God loved us so much, that He set in stone rules to protect us.
God gave us rules of conduct because we need them. Schools need rules of conduct. Society needs rules of conduct.
So here are some new sayings:
“Rules are good for schools.”
“Without rules: chaos rules.”
“God’s rules RULE!”
“Rules are best when they are Bible based.”
When God created Adam and Eve, He set a fruit tree in the middle of the garden, and told them not to eat of it. He made a rule. He created people with the ability to choose, and set a rule to test that ability. Ultimately that choice is to show our love for God through our obedience to Him. Rules serve several purposes, some for protection (for ourselves, and/or others), some for lessons to be learned, some as tests. Many are all three. God chose the tree probably not because the fruit itself would harm them if eaten, but to test their obedience and ultimately their love for him. He put the tree in the middle of the garden, not on the outskirts, so Adam and Eve would see the tree every day, they would be forced to make a decision every day to obey Him, or not. (More on that later)
Rules that protect us, or protect others are just that: protection. God loves us and wants to keep us from harm. Parents set some rules for their children’s safety, like “don’t touch the stove”. Schools have those types of rules also, and should explain WHY those rules are in place: what they are protecting the students from.
Rules that are for lessons are also part of God’s plan, and from His love for us. These rules teach us how to treat each other in a loving way, such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Some rules teach us to respect and obey authority, even if there is no reason for the rule other than that. Military boot camp uses rules to teach this. Recruits are ordered to go out in a field and spend the day digging a hole, then the next day, they are ordered to fill the hole back in. The purpose is to obey and respect authority even if you don’t understand why, or do not see a purpose in the requirement. Some rules teach self discipline, a trait that has to be taught, because it does not come natural.
Some rules are to test what we have learned, or test our obedience. The tree in the Garden of Eden is a good example because obeying the rule to not eat of it was mostly a test to find out weather Adam or Eve loved (and therefore obeyed) themselves more, or their God more, and which of the two they trusted more.
Rules bring a “cause and effect”, than that needs to be understood by everyone. Privileges come from being responsible, and obedient, discipline come from being irresponsible and disobedient. Just as this biblical premise is evident in scripture and reinforced by God, so our schooling should have and practice this concept. Following and enforcing those rules should have continuity and equality for all students (and staff), or the rules are not effective. Favoritism for some students, or letting some students “slide this time” sends the wrong message and undermines the reason of the rules. Enforce the rules the same way to all. A sound Christian school will have rules for protection, for learning, and for testing. The school will explain the reason for the rules and will enforce and re-enforce those rules equally for all.
“In our school, rules rule”. Schools have a published handbook or policy manual that includes rules of conduct. A sound Christian school has two biblically based written rules of conduct, one for students, and one for staff/teachers. These are published and given to the respective recipients. They steer the person to honor and be like Jesus Christ, and I encourage you and your school to make sure each rule has a biblical reason why it is there, including its “cause and effect.” It should be the proper length or quantity of rules, as too few are ineffective, and too many results in a lack of respect for them. A saying of mine applies here: “Keep it simple, and keep it biblical”.
A Christian school realizes that God put the primary responsibility of teaching His rules on the family home. (Deuteronomy 6:7) Therefore the Christian school should serve as an extension of the home in this regard, but should understand that may homes, even Christian homes, falter at that responsibility. Therefore the Christian school should ensure that they are in the position to pick up any deficiencies in Gods requirement, and ensure their rules are biblical and complete. It will be the result of much prayer and godly guidance. It will result form research, it will be Bible based, and the result of good biblical counsel. It will include applicable State and Federal laws, and be approved and maintained by the schools Board of Directors. It should also be reviewed by Pastors or other clergy as well as an Attorney (part of the counsel mentioned prior).
Once established, refrain from changes or modifications showing respect for the process that it resulted from. I also recommend parents or guardians be given a copy of the school’s rules of the student, and asked to read them, and possibly even sign them as read and agreed to. This will hopefully reduce any contention, and provide a place of refuge.