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  • Writer's pictureMark


I love words, and toying with words, and twisting them around. It’s fun. That’s why I like Dad Jokes. For instance, “I got fired from my job at the bank. Someone wanted me to check their balance so I pushed them over.” (Rimshot)

I like Scrabble because it’s about taking a batch of letters, trying to make a word out of them, and fitting them into what’s already been played. That’s what I really like doing. But I don’t like playing by the official rules. I enjoy diving into the dictionary to see what I can make. “Is Grabthar a word? What’s the Scrabble Dictionary say?” Regardless of what the dictionary says, the rules say, “Nuh-uh.”

You don’t get to check before playing. You play, and if another player disputes it, THEN you go to the dictionary. If Grabthar is there, the challenging player loses their turn. If it’s not, then you lose your turn. But to me that’s no fun.

In fact, I loved making words so much I’d help other players make words, despite what it cost me for points in the game. Linda would have the right letters for Grabthar , we’d check the dictionary, and if it’s there and she can play on the triple word score, we’d both celebrate. If she won because of it, I didn’t really care.

But those were Grandma’s Rules, not Scrabble Rules.


I think I’ve played only one game of Scrabble since Grandma died. It’s not that much fun anymore. But the last game I played with her she kicked my butt. It was great!

Monopoly is one of the games where people make up their own rules, too. Ever collect money when you land on Free Parking? Not in the rules. Most of the modifications people use extend the time it takes to play. Use the official rules and a game won’t really take that long. It’s really a very cut-throat game.


I remember someone telling me the inventor wanted it to exemplify the corruption and evil of the capitalist system. I think he was a proponent of socialism. If that’s the case, the reason it backfired is because the variations people used were because they were kind-hearted and didn’t want to shaft their friends.

There are rules to every game, from Tic Tac Toe to Scrabble to world class tennis. The ball hits outside the lines, and you lose the point. Someone can beat your three-of-a-kind if they have the right cards. The rules aren’t arbitrary, and the players have to abide by them if they want to play the game. Even Scrabble. Or Monopoly.

If a set of players agrees on the same set of modifications, though, they can collect cash when they land of Free Parking, or allow dictionary-diving. But eventually there’s a rule that says, “If the ball is out, it’s out. You lose the point.” If not, there’s very little point in playing.

The IOC gets to determine the rules about who can compete, and what the rules are for contestants in the Olympics. Hurdles are this high, those chemicals are prohibited, and the other moves are illegal for that sport. If you want to compete, you have to abide by the rules. You don’t get a gold medal if you smack your opponent in the face with a tennis racquet.

In the beginning, God created everything - including the rules. Humanity has been rejecting those rules almost from day one. “If I want to take PEDs, I’m taking PEDs!” God’s only telling you that if you want to get the gold medal of all gold medals (Heaven), you don’t get PEDs. Those are the rules.

Love God, and you’ll follow His rules. It’s really that simple. Notice I didn’t say it was easy. One of the difficulties is that when it becomes about the rules, people end up dismissing God.

So it isn’t so much about what the rules stipulate, it’s about the One who set up those rules. Grandma allowed dictionary-diving, so by loving her we played that way.

When you stand before God in His judgement, it won’t be about if Grabthar is an allowable word, or did you collect money on Free Parking, or even if you smacked someone with your tennis racquet.

If you love God, and seek His righteousness, you’ll get your Heavenly gold medal.

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