What Good Are Laws?

This is an intentionally ire-raising piece addressed to everyone who loves to talk about God and love but remains clueless about what they are.

So, you who love to talk, answer me this. If we have God’s love in our hearts, why do we need laws?

“Well,” you say, “we do need laws: God’s laws!

Right you are, but those are supposed to be written on our minds and our hearts. At least Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews thought so.

So, if God’s laws are written on our hearts and on our minds, why do we need any other laws?

Oh, that’s right, pardon me! We need laws for all those bad people. People with God’s laws written on their hearts and minds certainly don’t need them.

But wait! Isn’t there a conflict here? If we have God’s love in our hearts and his laws written on our hearts and minds, does that leave us powerless? Or does that imply that we have been given incredible power?

So, if we have God’s love in our hearts and his laws written on our hearts and minds, giving us incredible power, why do we need laws for all those bad people?

Where does the Bible say, “Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with legislation?”

I suggest that those who rely on laws love laws, even if they claim to love God “with word or with tongue.” They claim a form of godliness, but deny its power.

We resort to the most powerful means at our disposal, and our eyes, hands, and feet show our faith far more than our mouths do. By relying on laws, we proclaim that they are more powerful than love. And for many “believers” that’s absolutely true. Their love is pitiful, impotent. Otherwise, they would love to overcome evil with good. They’d be happy about it. Instead, evil intimidates them, so they resort to violence.

Violence?

Yes, exactly. Laws are worthless without enforcement, and enforcement always involves force, which by definition does violence to the will of the one being forced. That might be a necessary evil, but it is not good.

We resort to laws and the violence of enforcement and punishment when we lack love powerful enough to do better.

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

I wonder if there are Christians who even think that kind of love is possible, let alone believe in it, let alone possess and express it? Jesus wondered too.

“I tell you that He [God] will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 8:18

Imagine that! God takes care of justice, while we overcome evil with good and love, because we know that they will work.

What will be the result of that kind of overcoming? Unfortunately, that question has been answered only sporadically, by those we like to honor as “saints,” simultaneously exempting ourselves.

So, why do we still need laws? Any reason?

What do you think?

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About Millard J. Melnyk

Motley past, promising future exploring an open, potent understanding of mutuality, individual dignity and personal power through trust. DEAUTHORITARIANIZE EVERYTHING!
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5 Responses to What Good Are Laws?

  1. johnhelmiere says:

    Great stuff Millard! Very thought-provoking. Esp the invocation of violence. I do think that love also has a force though. Love has apower it relies upon too. But I’ve heard the difference described as coercive force vs truth/soul force (gandhi called it satyagraha, the transformative POWER of love). Just sharing what this made me think about.

    Question: Do you make a distinction between religious laws and civil laws? Are you saying there’s no need for civil laws as well?

    Peace, John

    • John, Amen! Transformative power is WAY more powerful than coercive power or violence. For one thing, love gives life and calls it out of others in terms of creativity, initiative, inspiration, and beneficial energy. Coercion only inhibits or destroys those things and triggers reactions that are rarely constructive, let alone creative.

      As to your question, I don’t claim that religious or civil laws are or are not necessary. My question wasn’t whether we need laws, but whether we RELY on them. In other words, what are our priorities?

      If our first or even our last line of defense against “evil” is law, then we rely on law. If we resort instead to love in order to confront and overcome evil, we rely on love. That’s a very different approach than reliance on law, which is powerless apart from the threat of violence.

      I’m not so interested in working the issue from the outside in, i.e., should laws be there or not, but from the inside-out, i.e., where’s our heart at? What do we trust in? What do we love?

      In my experience, people who rely on law see the universe as an adversarial place, and their thinking and treatment of others reflects that. I’m finding out that’s not the kind of place this is! 🙂

      If we are going to love our enemies, we first have to stop fearing them and admiring their wimpy “power.” If reality is fundamentally benevolent, then what pits people against each other is a mistake, a ruse, bullshit. From that perspective, I can see how I can love my “enemies.” In fact, it implies that the enmity is only temporary.

      Haha! Enemies don’t stand a chance! 🙂 And when their “defeat” is the same as conflict resolved and loving connection formed between mutually appreciative peers, who would complain? LET’S ALL LOSE LIKE THAT! 🙂

  2. off2cthewizard says:

    Funny I didn’t read this before I updated my status lol

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  3. off2cthewizard says:

    Love produces love the law always produces death.

    Im starting to see it… Just little snapshots.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

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