ImagePulling out my wallet I looked at the teller waiting for my ID. I needed cash. With an expired license, I needed it to pay off a fine to make it valid and avoid a ticket.

I slid my ID in her direction. She paused “Do you have a valid ID?” “It has my picture on it!” I pleaded. “Sorry we need a valid driver’s license, this has expired.” smiling, as if she had given me an irresistible gift.

I calmed my voice “I need the money to pay a fine to get a current driver’s license.” I was boiling inside; frustrated. She smiled back and with a soothing voice “I’m sorry, it’s a rule.” I clinched and briskly grabbed my license and rushed out the door. Now this is a “catch 22.”

I could answer all the codes: “What’s your mothers madden name, SS number, birthday, account number, first pet, favorite color and even what I was doing the previous Wednesday.” Yet no withdraw. My license had a hole in it….but it had my picture with lots of vital information. It wasn’t good enough.

The smile. It killed me. “Sorry it’s a rule.” I had entered an alter realm, where common sense didn’t exist, it was resisted, apparently even banned as a prehistoric idea. “Sorry, it’s a rule!”

 I find this when we help people. A statement is made preceding the thoughtless law: “I never…”, “I always…” ”I never let people living with me do such-and-such.” “I always require them to do such-and-such.”

We must deal with insight, viewing each person as unique. This requires thinking, analysis of the particular situation, with a risk. Yes, it may not always go well but the risk of not considering the particular person and situation is that people are treated unjustly. We hobble them from moving forward.

We have experienced people using rules instead of care. Love will take the time to consider the particular situation and draw conclusions that will be form fit for that person.  This is how you help people. Hard and fast rules, applying them across the board isn’t how we care for people.

Here is an example: Two guys live at my house one is just out of prison and has trouble with meth and the other is a hard worker, former business owner with a marriage gone-bad but no substance abuse issues. The first cannot just run around and needs supervision, he can’t leave the farm for overnight visits with friend and has a curfew. The latter has free reign and just needs to makes steps for employment.

The first needs to do his work with the court and work on the farm. It isn’t time for getting a job.

Can you see one doesn’t need a job yet the other must find work. One can’t leave the farm except to do business with the courts and recovery and the other can do what he wants.

“Sorry, it’s a rule!” can really limit your ability to help people. Love will consider this and act appropriately for each given situation.

I use these axioms “How would I want to be treated?” “What we I need to help me move forward?” Now that is love applied!

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