Not sure if you follow Survivor at all, but last night was the finale for the Survivor Samoa season. There is a guy on the show named Russell who was in the top three and who played the game very well. When I say he played the game well, I do not mean he played it nice - but according to the rules of Survivor, he did play the game well. Mind you, the "rules of life" do not apply. The rules of Survivor are simple: Don't physically attack anyone. Don't make plans with anyone to share the money. That's it. Everything else is fair game, according to the rules, or should I say "lack of rules" on the show.
In the finale last night, the jury of people who he had a hand in voting out did not agree that he played the game the best, though. They gave the million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor to a girl who he was not threatened by at all - and they did it because she played the game in a different way - being more respectful of others, kind, gentle and being loyal to her alliance. I found that interesting.
The majority of Survivor fans say that Russell should have won. He even won the "fan favorite". He played the game harder, didn't ride coat-tails, made the tough decisions and had his head in the game the whole time. Yet the people who he used to get to the finals were all hurt and frustrated because he didn't play by the rules - not of Survivor - but of life. I wonder if those "fans" who voted for him as "fan favorite" would feel the same way if they had been at the receiving end of his shenanigans?
How do people know what is right and what is wrong anyway? Where do we get this inner-compass? If you read in the Bible, you find the rules/laws of life. They are not there to box us in or frustrate us or to control us. They are there to guide us into what is right and good. They are to protect us and to help us know the way. I think we often think God is a kill-joy with a bunch of rules - but He is actually trying to help us live life to the fullest! Last night's show was a reminder that if we want the respect of others, we must show that respect to them, as well. There are lines we are tempted to cross every day in order to get to what we want, but people are watching and so is God.
God's whole purpose for creating us was love - not control. As we fall deeper in love with Him, we realize it is not a duty but an honor and a privilege to obey Him - even when the "rules" don't apply. I have nothing whatsoever against Russell - I've been told by a few folks that he's actually a straight up nice guy in real life. But I think he and all of us were reminded last night of a very important life principle directly from the pages of the Word of God...do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. (Matthew 7:12)
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases Him, and love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul. And you must always obey the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. Deuteronomy 10:12-13