"Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships." ~Author Unknown
It takes less thought, energy, and sincerity to make a meaningless long list of do's and don't's. It is the lazy and fearful way out, stunts the growth of true understanding and wisdom, and over time grows into a cold, calloused, uncaring monster with no logical boundaries to end the pursuit of more rules. This legalism is mostly only found to serve two purposes (though there are exceptions):
- To relieve self from a guilty conscience or a consequence (real or perceived)- rather than truly caring about the heart the matter, God, or caring about others.
- To use as a hammer to pound others
with when they are found to be struggling through something in life.
This is much like staying in the shallow end of the pool all your life, you never really get wet, build strength, learn to swim, overcome fear, or learn courage. Oh, it is "safe"... at least it seems so.
Dive into the deep end, learn, grow, and build strength and skill. Find a little risk in life. Spend time with the others who also do. There you will also find others who need plenty of help, and still others who can help you.
There are rules to life, commands from God, absolute truths, and lies of the enemy that deceive. I don't deny that, but legalism only protects the letter of law, and doesn't change the heart. My thought is to learn wisdom, get understanding, dig into the heart of the matter, learn more of God's heart. My major in life is to learn love and truth, to love true justice and mercy and stay humble, not stand in judgment. Walk with God, walk alongside others--- on equal ground, always checking myself and my own heart because of the love and fear of the Lord. All of this in honesty and sincerity, desiring the good things of the Lord, not merely a list of rules. Allowing God to change my heart, not just hand me a paper and pen so I can start making lists.
It's a lofty goal and life long exercise, and of course I have not arrived at the finish line, who has? Sometimes it's tempting to take the easy way out and make a list of rules, so I can check things off and feel accomplished, even if I don't understand why I just did all that. But this causes regression instead of progression. It tends to inflict pain and confusion into my life and often the lives of others. Lord, show me Your will, teach me your Word, and commands, that I could learn your heart, and possess the greatest gift of all... love.
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?