Yesterday I wrote about a young lady whose online name is Ruth.  She grew up in a family that is part of a legalistic system familiar to me.  Her situation is complex, but let’s just say that she left her family and is trying to adapt to life on the outside.  It’s hard for her.

Ruth just went through a heartbreaking experience.  Her father used that opportunity to condemn her and then offer to take her back into the system.  All she had to do was confess her sins and submit to his (and the system’s) control.  Just hang her head in shame and come back into the bondage she deserves.  That’s all.

Nice, huh?  At a time when she is hurting and feeling vulnerable, her father comes along to push her deeper into the mud.  This is why I see a connection between legalism and narcissism.  There is no love.  There is no real desire to help.  There is only a desire to control for the sake of looking good.

When Ruth left her family, it made her father look bad.  He had spent countless hours and an amazing amount of energy trying to look good in the eyes of the legalist system.  The system includes his church, his friends, his homeschool institute community.  But, when Ruth rejected the arranged marriage (yes, some of these people do that), she made dad look like he was not as much in control as he wanted others to think.  So now he uses condemnation to push her down and lift himself up.  At least he thinks it lifts him up.

Neither legalism nor narcissism cares about the person they use or hurt.  People are, as I have said here many times: tools, toys, or obstacles.  Both legalism and narcissism is about looking good to others, and both use control and manipulation as weapons.  Both are evil.

But neither presents the truth about God.  The narcissist is his own God, no matter what he says with his mouth.  The legalist serves a false God of performance and condemnation.

The true God is about the person, the individual.  He loves us, one by one.  He knows our names and He knows the burdens of our hearts.  He is active and good.  I believe that God Almighty came in the person of Jesus to show us His love.  He provided the way of salvation for us.  He did the work.  Now He simply invites us to trust Him.

We can’t trust a god who is focused on performance and standards and rules and work.  It will never be enough.  No matter how hard we try to serve that kind of god, we will fail.  The rules change, the effort is never sufficient, the performance is always imperfect.  But that’s a false god.  That’s the god of the legalist.

Our God loves us.  Jesus proves it.

Your thoughts?



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Filed under Freedom, grace, Legalism, Narcissism

7 responses to “Ruth

  1. kay

    As difficult as this is, and it is for Ruth, there is a plan, a will and God’s loving timing that will bring this to a crux…GOD’s timing, His
    way, His Love. Ruth may be a real Christian; Her dad may be also,
    yet to have an ‘insider’ destroy, or try to destroy your standing with
    Christ can bring much pain. I am just now reading two intense books: BOLD LOVE and CAPTIVATING: unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul.

    IF Ruth is very young, but does not live at home, she can get
    a lot of REAL Christian counseling from the Word and the real Church. Dan, you have a heart for the consequences of what a wrong Dad is and has been doing, and for the offspring that is obviously needing Dad’s love and support. IF she still lives at home but is totally dependent on Dad, there may be some Godly answers she might be able to hear.

    There is no easy walk through this, but walk she must. To deny her
    soul has been ripped through her toes by a man that supposedly is
    ‘loving’, she can run, hide, be angrily trying to live out God’s plans for her, or she can do as many have for good reasons, turn her back on her Dad and leave, figuratively divorcing him. Any and all decisions need to be made with the loving heart of God engaged in Ruth.

    There is much abuse in the name of “christianity”, which is proof it is NOT Christ. THAT is the first aspect Ruth may need to accept. Dad may be an sinning/fleshly Christian, or he may not know the living God at all. Her major difficulty is to deal with her broken heart, a broken relationship and get a counselor that can walk her through this terrible wrongness. There are women counselors that are true Christians and can hold her on a True course, not what the world offers. A male counselor (as you are), might know the
    truth and be able to help, but since her Dad is male, it could cause sin and idolatry in Ruth.

    ALL parents have failed their children one way or the other. Many
    have openly sinned against them. ALL Christian adults/teens must deal with a loving God, full of grace and mercy, The best teacher in all the universe, no matter what family they were reared in. Get to what the Lord says about the situation. Ruth is never going to change her Dad. He may in the end repent of the awfulness and turn from his law, his action and in-actions, but not to depend on that. “Not every man (or woman) that calls Lord, Lord, is known by Christ”…kay’s paraphrase.

    Three men who were deep in the Church of their choice NEVER repented of what they did to nearly destroy me. I dealt with the Lord after many years of coping, which was more against my Lord than for me. He waited and I found Him to be ALL; He met all my needs, and many of my wants.

    Only a repentant heart can come to Christ; only a repentant heart
    can know forgiveness. Sometimes that repentance never comes,
    but Ruth must look at Christ for His answers, His healing, His strength, His power, His will.

    I am personally sorry for the pain Ruth’s Dad has caused her;
    I am proof Christ is THE ONLY ANSWER here. Walking ‘in
    Christ’ for Ruth will be her salvation and redemption. Cults and cultish people are oftentimes so stayed (dead in sin) in their law and beliefs, it sometimes takes huge losses in their lives to wake
    them up. My former husband has never changed…40 years later. I’ve been a ‘dead woman walking’ for more decades than I will discuss.

    Loss of relationship,as is all sin, is against the Lord of Lords. He IS RELATIONAL; we are fallen, no matter how “nice” or even humble
    we are. IF I am wrong Dan, just let me know in what aspect and help me to be helpful, rather than loaded with twisted thinking. I totally trust Christ in you. Ruth can, if she doesn’t, truly know the Lord, and that He is NOT her Father in Heaven.

    With a deeply sorrowful heart for Ruth, and all (each) of us that
    has been or still is abused, OR is the abuser, I say there is Forgiveness, Salvation and Redemption in Christ. kay

    • Kay, you have written so much here and I realize that this situation touches your heart. You are right, Ruth does have to walk through this and the Lord does love her. My prayer for her is that she would find the way to His love. The god her father and the system have presented is, as you say, not God. Too many of these young people reject the false god of performance and legalism and then never find the real God who loves them and has always loved them. Pray for Ruth. God knows who she is.

  2. 2 things Dave:

    One – I watched the Matrix for the first time over the weekend and was astounded at the spiritual undertones throughout. I wrote down, among others, this quote: “Some people are so dependant on the system they will fight to keep it.” Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne)

    Second – I just finished a tremendous book called, “The Cure”, written by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol, and Bill Thrall. They had, among other Truth bombs, this tasty morsel: Negative influencers will demand your trust of them, as a condition of their support. But it is a trust for their benefit, not yours. Positive influencers ask permission to earn trust. They will wait for permission to be let in.

    • Good stuff! I have not read the book, but I know of John Lynch. An excellent narcissist statement! And the Matrix statement is so sad, isn’t it? But, you are right, that’s how these systems are set up. They keep bringing their victims back into bondage.

  3. Ruth’s father wrote a post for her blog and an email meant to be shared. You should read it.

  4. kay

    I read a little of the blog and the first thing that jumped out at me was
    his defensiveness and just deaf to Ruth’s pleas. His view of “Honor Mother and Father” (obedience) in the context are not valid unless she still lives at home. “Honor” to a parent before God is always true, no matter how despicable, abusive or even, I think, if they die. Ruth is to follow Jesus, yes?, obedient to Him, not to the law the way her Dad perceives. He is reading and living according to ‘his’ law. I know the
    group he is related to and there is a lot of law/ flesh in this. Ruth is saved by grace, spelled “GRACE”, one of the names of the Lord. Thank you Dave for hearing this young woman’s plea for sanity.

    I was married to a bully that read me the riot act of “wives be obedient
    to your husband” etc, etc. We attended all the “classes” for this
    group and not much later, divorced. They undermined love within
    our marriage, and had almost as many rules/laws as does any cult.

    I am sorry, Dave, for such a long retort last time. I will watch it.

  5. Prairiemom

    Oh boy. I think I read this dear girl’s story on No Longer Quivering a while back. Absolutely heartbreaking, and she is not the only one.

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