Legalism or Relationship and Boundaries
When we are looking at life, as people of faith and I use the bible because that is what I am familiar with and the path I choose. When you are deciding how to live life, govern, manage etc..one has as a Christian for example one has two paths that are possible in making decisions, choices. One is personal preference, and whatever happens, happens, is what it is, everyone just suck it up, even if you get caught in the crossfire of my actions etc..That’s all about Ego, want what it is I want, no real reflection on what the choice made will mean for others, for society. The other is to look at scripture, at history even as a reference point, seek wisdom, to undertstand that our choice impacts others, and seek an outside source to guide, not to decide for us, but to guide the decision making process. Why? Since there are consequences to everything we do, not a bad idea to seek external guidance from sources that are steeped in wisdom, to look at history to not repeat it. Life has a lot of twists and turns, and so if there is no objective moral standard what you have is a train wreck of decisions that have detrimental affects on self and others, on society. If there are not standards of morals, ethics, of behavior etc..then society is a jungle of anarchy, of lawlessness, so when people say that objective morality etc.. is bull and what matters is what I want, need and my personal happiness only, they are not being smart, independent or anything like that. The opposite actually. When we do not have objective standards for law and order, for how we live life etc.., that are reasonable then society can not function. Objective moral truths etc.. matter, got that straight, good, okay.
That is different than religious legalism, legalism is all about you being able to gain salvation, gain transformation through works, or taking scripture about drunkenness and saying, the bible says can’t drink anything with caffeine, can’t touch any alcohol. That is not what the bible says, or it talks about adorning and you get all legalistic that can’t wear any make up or jewelry, again not what the bible says. It’s referring to being ostentatious, trying to use these things, the body to call attention to always be the center of attention, ego, vanity. The Sabbath, legalistic is it has to be Saturday or you go to hell. No, again legalism. Clear moral boundaries on sexuality, marriage, what constitutes marriage, what constitutes lawlessness and crime, okay, that’s one thing, even within that harshness is not a hallmark of God. Even in the OT God sent prophets etc.. to warn people so they would have a chance to change. He spared Enoch, Noah and his family, put a mark on Cain so no one would kill him. Still today has prophets that try to warn and guide to bring people to a relationship with the divine creator and His realm. Legalism is about rules etc…put forward by man, not about clear object moral, ethical truths. Important to distinguish the two. Those who have prophetic wisdom should speak up as long as it aligns with scripture, and again warning about consequences of relative morality etc.. is not legalism, it’s loving humanity enough to speak up.