O house of Jacob, come and let us walk In the light of the Lord. Isaiah 2:5
I began to understand the ugliness of legalism when I realized that lying was such an important part of it. So many people were so critical of others while doing many of the same things themselves. One small example that happened several times was when the children of a family answered the door because mom happened to be wearing jeans. Since women were always supposed to wear skirts (so they remained separate from the men 😉 ) mom couldn’t be seen in jeans. Rules were important, but the importance was to pretend you kept them better than others. Be sure to point out violations of rules when you see them, but cover up the fact that you bend the rules yourself. So much of legalism happened in the darkness.
Of course, most of the examples I would share would be relatively tame. Some of them were not tame at all. Incest, adultery, abuse—these things happen in the darkness. Once the lying starts, it provides a cover, a system, that allows sin to grow. How different is it—really—from lying about having a television and lying about abuse? The family structure that allows lying, the fear and the intimidation, is in place already because of legalism. No wonder ugly things happen.
The Lord invites us to walk in the light. Only under grace will we ever have the freedom to enjoy walking in the light. It is uncomfortable sometimes to let others see our mistakes, to tell the truth about our struggles. Under the law, we want so badly to look good. But under grace, we can simply be thankful to know the One who is good. We trust in Him, not in ourselves.
Remember that the difference between legalism and grace has nothing to do with sin. We both sin. Both those who are under the law and those who are under grace do things that God calls sin. The difference is what we do about it. Under law, we are stuck with trying to cover our sin, to hide it or atone for it somehow; under grace, we simply own the fact that we continue to struggle with the perspectives of the flesh and sometimes fall. Then we praise God for His love and acceptance and forgiveness in Jesus.
Walking in the light is better!
Love to get your comments!