All of us recognize the usefulness of a written procedure, whereby a method is devised to ensure quality, completeness, or legality. But all to often we find people using the procedure without caring for extenuating circumstances, treating everyone they encounter as the same. When I become the victim of being treated like a number instead of a person, I try to point out that if the process is followed precisely every time, then there would be no need of the services of the person employed, since a software application could very well perform the same function.
I was delighted to read a similar thought in one of the chapters in Our Daily Bread:
“No one can deny the useful side of formalities. If they were completely useless, the Father would not permit their existence in the scheme of things. They are charts that classify individual efforts and schedules that designate adequate time for this or that task. However, to make them inflexible precepts or insurmountable obstacles is a grave harm to overall harmony.
Most people heed them more than they obey God himself; however, the Almighty has established all of life’s organizations to aid in the evolution and perfecting of all his children.” [Our Daily Bread, Chapter 30, pp.73-74]
Emmanuel points out that written processes, standards, operating procedures, whatever they are called within an organization are a needed device, but to pay heed to their dictates more than what is expected of us by Jesus and God is wrong. Love, fraternity, and charity (and the Golden Rule), must always be in the forefront of our actions, even if we are directed in a certain manner by slavish bureaucracy.
Emmanuel closes the chapter with this call to action:
“Formalities can define, catalog, specify and enumerate, but they should not tyrannize our lives. Remember, they have been put on your path in order to be of assistance to you. Respect them for their constructive and just nature, but do not make them a prison cell.” [Our Daily Bread, Chapter 30, p. 74]
We are asked to use our own judgment in interpreting any process we are expected to follow. We have all encountered this situation. I write of my own experience in bucking the precepts of Human Resources when they refused to accommodate a simple request by a person working for me, in my book 7 Tenets of Spiritism – How They Impact Your Daily Life. I explore how spirits are constantly with us and guiding our path.