Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How To Avoid Legalism and Religiosity

Have you read Job 20 lately?

Just to refresh your memory, one of Job's friends voices his opinion on the state of Job's condition. Zophar, Job's friend, may be explaining correctly the woes of the wicked, but in Job's case, his comments are entirely misdirected.

It is not uncommon for people to misdirect their comments, or judge a circumstance inappropriately. We do it all the time. We want things to make sense in our world and when people enter our lives with a situation that we don't comprehend, we impose our understanding upon them.

Our interpretation of right and wrong governs how we respond to others, even if we do not have all the facts (though we may think we do - which is rarely the case).

As Christians, we are called to help our brothers and sisters in their walk with God, yet oftentimes our help is misappropriated and becomes more damaging and less helpful. It is like telling someone you will help them up the mountain and then placing a boulder or a mountain goat in their path.
How do we avoid doing this?

Imposing our interpretation of right and wrong is the foundation to legalism and religiosity. We want to avoid falling into this type of bondage.

Letting the Holy Spirit guide our words and actions, sharing the Word in love, with humility, and walking with the person through hardship would be an ideal response.
It is not always easy to do this, and to be very frank, there are times when your "help" is best exercised in your prayer closet. Imposing our understanding of the situation and our idea of the solution must be tempered by the guidance of the Holy Spirit; otherwise, legalism and religiosity rule our heads and our hearts. Stay cognizant of this.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.~Eph.4:1-3

1 comment:

Robert said...

Misti- another well-written post my friend. I always love the passage in Philippians talking about Jesus taking on the form of a bondservant, lowest of the low. Our egos endlessly get in the way, humility needs to be like a siren so we keep constantly aware of its need. I have a friend who always challenges us in our congregation that we do not actively pursue social justice,but he does it in a very condescending manner. I dont think guilting anyone into seeking justice is the way to go, just as you say here my friend.