Finally at the age of 26 I have come to realize that sometimes rules are just necessary. It is not that it took me 26 years to actually realize that or fully understand that, but I struggled with the rules mentality for so long because I have often experienced rules as a law when in many cases they are not. My main issue with rules over the years has been generally when someone lays down a rule as if it is biblical or the only way.
My issue with rules being presented this way is that it does a couple of things. First, it many times causes something to become sin that was never sin to begin with. A great example of this is alcohol. Often times an institution will prohibit the consumption of alcohol, which often results in turning alcohol now into a temptation and sin when it is consumed. Alcohol is a gift from God, the first recorded miracle of Jesus, and when consumed appropriately and moderately can be a wonderful thing.
Second, by presenting or making rules as law it makes them appear as the only way. This in turn often results in the judgement of others when they may not be following those same given rules. It is important to remember that you can and still should have fellowship with fellow brothers even though their rule following may look different as the body of Christ is unique. What some can do in good conscience, other cannot. So, in some instances an issue or certain behavior maybe a sin issue for some and not for others. We must not make the mistake of making something a sin for all believers that was not clearly given as one in Scripture.
Now, are rules necessary? Absolutely, but I have come to see the freedom in rules as guidelines and not as law. Any organization and institution will have rules and I fully believe that you should follow those as your general guidelines because in most cases you agreed to those in working with them. And following rules as guidelines does not give one an excuse to sin, but rather respect them for what they are by submitting to the authority over them in their lives in a way that is Christ honoring(1Peter 2:13-16).