legalese |ˌlēgəˈlēz; -ˈlēs|noun informal, often derogatory – the formal and technical language of legal documents that is often hard to understand.
Well, our trip to Hilton Head is over and we are on our way back home. Although we could have made the entire drive in one day, it rained much of the afternoon, and we decided to stay over in the little town of Richmond, KY – about twenty minutes south of Lexington. I have work to catch up on, and so I have spent the evening writing, editing and reviewing a draft of an employee handbook for one of my clients.
Several of the companies I work with have reached the point where they really need to have their policies and procedures documented. In fact, more often than not, company handbooks are becoming a requirement for securing professional liability insurance, and this year three of my high growth clients have made the decision to document their practices as they hire additional employees. And while I have spent the past 28 years of my life in the human resources environment, laws and requirements have changed so quickly, and significantly, that I always engage outside counsel when compiling a handbook for any of the companies I represent. Most of the time this includes a human resources consultant, and then usually, a lawyer makes sure all the legal aspects are covered before the manuals are distributed to the staff.
And, of course, depending on which state you are in, the requirements are different as well. While there are many federal requirements, sometimes states, cities, or other municipalities also have stipulations that may affect how you construct an employee handbook. Additionally, how large your company is also determines what laws you are subject to follow. Suffice it to say that each book must be carefully constructed so it meets all the various regulations and closes all the loopholes that people might try to take advantage of. Even in the case of companies that wish to be extraordinarily generous in their benefits for the employees, the laws are very specific on what you can, and can’t, do. It is quite a time consuming process, and as you can tell, I am a little bit in corporate mode, after hours of verifying language and writing policy all night.
I started thinking about all the handbooks I have written over the years, and how each one differs from the previous one. It’s like there is no one set of rules – everything has to be modified to fit the particular situation. Then, I started to think about how the Jewish leadership of the Old Testament did the same thing. In fact, they created more than 600 different laws just to govern how people acted on the Sabbath. Very few people knew all the laws, and so it was easy to make a mistake. But then, something really important happened!
Christ came! And He showed us that there was no way we could be perfect and follow all the laws and commandments. All of us fall short of God’s standard and none of us is holy enough to get into heaven based on our behavior. So, Jesus did something remarkable. He threw out the rule book!
Now don’t get me wrong – we still have the Bible; the Word of God, inspired by God and committed to writing by humans through the work of the Holy Spirit. What I mean is that he replaced all those Old Testament laws and commandments with one statement – which was the same for everybody. It didn’t make any difference whether you were Jew or Gentile – Greek or Roman. Or what government you belonged to or how wealthy you were.
And that verse is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That’s it – plain and simple – just BELIEVE. No price tag, no laws, no commandments, no tests! If you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, you are in. Period.
So my encouragement tonight is that you know that God has made it simple for you to spend eternity with Him. No hidden agendas, no tricks, no double talk. Just believe in Him. And my prayer is that you will accept this offer of eternal life. And if you have already done so, as many of you have, that you will encourage others to join the family. Because too many times, people are hesitant to trust God; they think there are so many regulations and laws to follow. And that just isn’t the case. Because Christ changed all that – no need for legalese. Just straightforward talk – believe in Christ and have eternal life – and you won’t need a lawyer to accept His offer!