Monday, January 14, 2008

Legalism, Liberalism or Liberty

I love the Scripture which says a false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just balance is His delight (Prov.11:1). The NKJV translation of the same verse refers to “dishonest scales.” Isn’t dishonest the same as lacking integrity—or even authenticity? And when we throw away our core values – the things our gut tells us are right – isn’t that throwing away our authenticity? Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just that some people no longer know who they are. They’ve been so wounded by false concepts, they don’t really know what they believe any more. Legalism can do that.

There’s something really tragic about what legalism does to people. I have many friends who’ve suffered under the heavy hand of legalistic teaching. They spent their time—lives even—trying to fit into the mold of ministry. And instead of conforming to Christ and His Word, the buckled under people’s impositions. It’s a very human thing. The so-called powerful – especially when in the guise of the spiritual – take advantage of the weaker. The saddest of all are those who thought they were following God when they were actually following a movement.

But the danger that presents itself to people with this kind of bad experience is that when they wake up -- when it dawns on them that they’re being duped by men wanting to control rather than knowing the true freedom found in Christ – then they tend to swing the pendulum in the totally opposite direction. They tend to reject everything they ever learned in the Bible – well, it’s more that they don’t know what’s true anymore -- and out goes the baby with the bathwater. Ouch!

The danger here is that instead of finding liberty, they embrace liberalism. Suddenly anything goes. But what really goes is their soul. It becomes empty. They question everything (which can be a good thing- and can’t believe anything anymore (that’s not a good thing. It leads to an empty soul, sad and confused).

So what’s the answer. Honestly, I don’t know. I believe the Bible is God’s Word so maybe we just need to get back into it. Deeply. Read it, meditate on it. Grab hold of the truths within the pages as if our life depended on it. Because it really does.

Janey L. DeMeo
Copyright©January 2008

Janey L. DeMeo ---
Founder/director of Orphans First -
freelance writer, author of Heaven Help Me Raise These Children!
Biblical Direction for Practical Parenting Issues.

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