Legalism. It kills and destroys. There is much legalism in the world. Among believers, and non-believers. Believers are judged by those in the church, and those out of the church. I, for one am tired of legalism on all fronts. I’m tired of being judged as a homophobe, just because I believe God designed marriage as one man and one woman for life. I’m tired of being judged as being opposed to women because I believe life begins at conception, and I’m infringing on a woman’s “right to chose” if I encourage that life to live to birth. I’m tired of being judged by fellow believers for my beliefs that may or may not align with theirs. I’m tired of being judged…I’m tired of seeing others judged. I’m just plain tired of the legalism around me.
When we are harsh, condemning and judgmental, it benefits no one except the enemy. It builds walls, not bridges, it halts conversations, instead of giving room for discussion, it destroys! No matter what the topic.
We have the answers for our life; no one else. Does this mean we are to “Judge Not”? Absolutely NOT. There is a differentiation between judging and legalism. Legalism says “what I believe is right and you must agree with me” and if you don’t, you are wrong.
We are to judge fruit. We are to judge lives, but not for eternal salvation! No on can judge the eternal destiny of another. Only God knows what is in the heart. Recently, I stated that Truett Cathy was my brother in Christ. I said this because he claimed to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and he appeared to live out his faith. I am not saying that he didn’t sin. As I’m sure he did; I know no one, save Christ that lived a sinless life. I may be surprised when I enter Heaven to find that Mr. Cathy isn’t there; but I personally would rather ere on the side of grace than on the side of law.
Just today, I saw a thread on Facebook that really annoyed me. Part of he discussion was about Mother Theresa. I have seen or heard this same conversation many times before. The discussion always concludes that Mother Theresa was not saved. I have a problem with this, because no one, save God can truly know where Mother Teresa’s soul is at this moment. To make any definitive judgment about anyone’s salvation, is quite prideful, arrogant, and judgmental. Truthfully, I am saddened by these type of judgements for many reasons.
On the other hand, I will not say that Mother Teresa is my sister in Christ. I never heard her claim a personal relationship with Christ. Her life was full of good works, and a great many statements that point people to God. What I say is I do not know. Only God can say definitively that someone no longer on this earth is or isn’t saved. I am unwilling to take that position. I am willing to put it in God’s hands, to ask for mercy and to trust His perfect ability to rightly decide.
Other issues of legalism prevail, from both sides of the table. Liberals judge conservatives, conservatives judge liberals. We judge those that use traditional medicine, those that don’t. We judge those that have remarried, and sometimes “we” force them to divorce their most recent spouse. (OH SAD DAY!) Conservatives are just certain they KNOW exactly what what is in the mind of their liberal opposer.
I entreat you to reconsider your narrow-mindedness.
All are worthy of our kindness; because they are created in the image of God. Yes, even that homosexual, even that liberal, even that conservative, even that legalist.
With minor modification, my comment is below:
First, ONLY God is in the place of judging anyone’s salvation, saved or unsaved. iow, only God knows at this point whether anyone is saved or lost. Saying definitively, that a person is or isn’t saved doesn’t belong to anyone but Him. 2nd. common grace applies to all, so yes, there are people that have morals that aren’t saved. (if you want to get down to it, compared to Christ, NONE of us have any morals, saved or unsaved, except by His blood, His grace and His mercy). 3rd. Legalism benefits no one. In fact, it tears down and destroys, which is exactly what Satan LOVES.
I believe my comment was loving and kind. I was not harsh. I did not judge the person making the comment. I believe I only judged the statements that were made that I disagreed with. Did I respond perfectly? Probably not; but I think I did ok. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything; and I almost didn’t because I’ve dealt with people like this for all of my Christian life. Unfortunately, as usually happens, the person turned the tables and called me judgmental. I did defend an absurd jump this person made about my comment; other than that, I haven’t replied… this time. I’m not always so self-controlled. I keep reminding myself that that person is a complete stranger with advice about my life that really means nothing in the scope of eternity. I will not change that persons mind, they have decided that they have that answer; for now.
I do want to clarify what I see as the difference as between legalism and judging as we should judge. Biblical truth is true. Meaning, homosexuality is wrong, (but I will not judge or treat a homosexual differently than I would any other human being). There is only one way to eternal life. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth the life, no man come to the Father except through me” If you believe in Budda, Allah, or your own path; I fear your eternal destiny. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. Etc. There are several others, but there is not room here to expound; however, there is this wonderful book called the Bible.
May God have mercy on us all as we journey life on this earth striving to glorify Him. May he grant us grace where we ere and forgiveness when we fail.