Girls Write Out
Tuesday, September 04, 2007

If the day should ever come when God asks me to speak -- and I'm like Moses here, I'd need a brother -- my mouth runs faster than my brain. Or is it the other way around? Anyway, if I ever speak, it's going to be on the dangers of legalism. I cannot tell you how much legalism gets to me. What is the point of legalism? It crushes spirits, it twists Scripture and no one is really better for it in the end.

There are so many speakers out there, telling followers THIS is what God is saying here, and I'm telling you, the Scripture is totally muddied with their own ridiculous interpretations. Well, by my view. I'm not saying it isn't right for them, just that it isn't right for everyone. The Gospel is right for everyone -- where you fall on the drinking/no drinking, women working/not working thing is really open for interpretation. IF God is speaking to you about something, don't do it. But please, don't try to justify it that if anyone else does it, it's a sin.

There are so many well-meaning Bible teachers out there, beating up the people of God with lies like if you're sick, it's because of sin. Hello? We all have sin, and we're not all something might be wrong with that theory.

Legalists talk endlessly about grace, while they beat the crap out of you with Scripture thrown at you without compassion. They might argue they're doing it in love, but people know when they're being loved. It doesn't take a doctorate in theology to figure out the love of the Holy Spirit vs. rules. My other complaint with legalists is that they're always worried about what I'm doing. Or their neighbor's doing. They never seem all that concerned about their own sin, but wow, can they point out someone else's.

A friend gave another friend a book on Biblical correctness for the woman. In the book, it stated that when a man doesn't work, the woman should not go out and seek work, but let the man get hungry so he'll work for his family. Okay, I could go into how that is manipulative and not really being a partner in love, but I won't. This woman who gave my friend the book, well, her husband got laid off and he wasn't really looking for any job than the one he wanted. And guess what? She went to work when he didn't. Do I fault her for that? Absolutely not. I'm only saying, legalism always sounds good in theory, it's the practical nature of it that gets in the way.
posted at 10:42 PM  
  Comments (13)
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At 1:24 AM, Blogger Kayla said...

Oh, my gosh. I was just ranting about this the other day. I sometimes visit a message board that's mainly used by young women, but most of them are so legalistic that it makes me sick. One woman on there constantly talks about how EVERYONE should be a stay at home mom because you're going against the Bible if you aren't. She blatantly ignored my question of how the economy would survive if all women suddenly stopped working.

Right now, she's homeless and her daughter is being raised by in laws because her husband can't keep a steady job and she REFUSES to work. She now says that God has called her to be homeless.

Oh, and then, people like that just THROW the Bible in your face. It's sickening how God's Word isn't used with love. It's already sharper than a double edged sword so you DON'T have to use your own force to make it effective!

*huff* I'll probably be back later with more to say. You got me started!

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Tricia said...

You know Kristen I think you and I could really be friends if, you know, we didn't live so very far away from each other :o)

Legalism is one of my HUGE pet peeves. Did we learn nothing from the Pharisees?

Don't get me wrong, I totally understand the desire to judge others. The choices God led me to for my family are right for us, they must be right for everyone; God led me to stay home with my kids = everyone should stay home, God led me to homeschool = everyone should homeschool.

Trust me I KNOW this is not right, but that is the temptation. But judging others is a sin. It is not my way or the highway.

GOD gets to judge the hearts of man NOT ME!

There are some things in the Bible that are non negotiable, yes, but there are many other things that we make non negotiables that are not. That my friends is legalism.

I could go on and on, but this is your blog not mine so I won't. I think I see a legalism post coming to my blog soon. :o)

Have a great day.

*And the Greatest of these is LOVE* Words to live by!

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Great post! I've been wrestling with this topic for months now, my husband pastors a church that is full of people bound by legalism...and they can't see it! For years they were taught the law and works and we are trying to get them to see that it's ok if you miss a church service and stay home with your family *GASP!* It's ok if you don't go to Sunday school.

I could tell you stories....such as the young man who worked at a movie theater was told by a church member, "You better hope that Jesus doesn't come back while you're working at the movie theater because you'll miss the rapture"

Sad but true.

How did we get so far from the message of the gospel?
And how can they not see that what they're practicing is actually hurting the work that God wants to do?

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Swaziland Mazzucas said...

Kudos to you for calling out legalism. God's word is what we should live and abide by, but it should never in the name of the law overrule grace. I am a stay at home mom and I love it. I would never think of telling a working mom that she is ungoldy for not being with her kids.

It breaks my heart to think of families going through rough finacial times because of this belief. DIdn't the Proverbs 31 woman herself work, using her earnings to buy a field and other such provisional things? And her husband and children called her blessed.

Kristin, I am sure your friend's heart was in the right place (as was the author's) but we need to be sure to show these friends the extra amount of godly love that we can to break through legalism and shower them with grace

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Eileen said...

Amen, sister!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Lisa Jordan said...

I'm a stay-at-home, work-at-home mom, so which category would I fall into? :-P

I was raised in a legalistic church and have legalistic relatives. Let me tell you, God gives me an extra dose of grace to deal with them.

While at a family reunion, one of my aunts noticed my son's Harry Potter book and immediately denounced it as being evil and from the devil. I explained why I've chosen to allow my boys to read the series. I explained I'm a fan of the books too. I'm not saying Harry Potter is for everyone, but I chose to allow it in my family. She's never read the series, but treated me like I was the devil incarnate. I don't need that kind of attitude, thank you.

Being bound in legalism prevents these people from seeing God's blessings and His work in others.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

Swazi, you are so right about everyone's heart being in the right place, but I think that's what makes it so dangerous. It is so easy to believe *I* am a Christian because I don't see R rated movies, and I don't drink, and on and on. That verse, Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your Name? And He says Get away from me you evildoer, I never knew you, scares the life out of me. People actually prophesied in His name, and probably healed to boot, and they did not enter the Kingdom of heaven. If that doesn't tell you it's a heart issue...

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Kayla said...

Suzanne, I love that your hearts are in the right place as leaders of a church. My pastor's wife actually belittled me for missing a service. I'm in the band and I decided not to play on Sunday evenings because I have 18 hours of class this semester, and that's not even talking about work. I saw her out to dinner with some church people and she made a snide remark: Even if you're not playing that doesn't mean you can stop praising.

EXCUSE ME?! I nearly burst into tears right there because I was so humiliated. However, her family looked humiliated, too, so I wasn't the only one.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger Heather Diane Tipton said...

woohooo! now see... I could totally see you talking on this subject! *gasp* in front of people even! :o)

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Thanks for this post, Kristin! You always know how to get right to the point. =)

My hubby is from a denomination (actually, they don't consider themselves a denomination, but...semantics) that is all about legalism. It drives me CRAZY! We have decided not to be part of this "denomination", but that doesn't mean we don't have issues sometime when we're around my in-laws.

I love my in-laws with all my heart, but I CAN NOT understand why they believe some of the things they do. We've kind of agreed to disagree on those subjects (although MIL can't hold her tongue sometimes) just to keep the peace.

I can't wait until we're all in heaven and all of these things won't matter anymore! (of course, they may not think that I'll make it there!)

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Sally, doesn't it scare you how many people think it's the Gospel, PLUS (Add rule here). I suppose we're all Pharisees in our own way, it's just more obvious with legalists because no one wants to be around them or their rules for living. : )

At 11:30 PM, Blogger Deena said...


I concur:-)

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Kristin - YES, it's scary! It's also scary that they often think the PLUS rule is part of the Bible (or they're "silent" on the subject b/c it's not in the Bible...i.e intruments in worship)...just leave it up to interpretation. Too bad everyone has different interpretations!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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