In the game of golf the golf course is defined by Out of Bounds (O.B.) stakes or fences. These fences signify property lines, and if you hit your ball O.B. you are given a one stroke penalty and you have to replay the shot from the original position. This “stroke and distance” penalty is the worst kind to get in golf.
If you have played much golf you will from time to time play with people who ignore the O.B. fences and they will either play from Out of Bounds, or they will drop a ball and play on without taking a penalty. This is called cheating. If you are caught cheating in a tournament you are automatically disqualified, and if you get caught again, you are likely to be banned from playing tournaments, especially if the cheating was intentional.
In the game of life some people actually believe the rules do not apply to them. They will either ignore the fences, or remove them altogether. I love this quote by G. K. Chesterton:
“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”
Good relationships and good marriages work best when people stay on the course and do everything they can to stay away from the O.B. fences. Like golf, a great score in life depends on staying in bounds, and going O.B. and ignoring it, or worse, removing the fences, is called cheating. Plus, sometimes the fences are there to protect you from the 2000 pound bull in the pasture next to the course (I literally learned this one the hard way!).
Dad’s late mentor, Fred Smith, had this quote: “All great failures in life are moral failures.” As you look forward to 2010, keep in mind that the moral fences in your life are there to protect you, and before you consider taking one of the fences down or climbing over it, take a look at the 2000 pound bull on the other side!