June 27, 2011 by Stacy McDonald

Sally “Used to be” a Legalist…

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An Expose’ of the Legalistic Anti-Legalist:

While *true* legalism is a real issue, these days, anyone with any sort of convictions may be accused of legalism. How can an “anti-legalist” actually be a true legalist in disguise and how do they choose who goes on their hit list? Here’s my take:

Sally used to be a legalist. After being enamored with a particular teacher/preacher (whatever!), she decided she wanted to be just like them. She assumed that in emulating their outward appearance and lifestyle she would become a godlier wife and mother. In the process, she began to look down on anyone who didn’t live or look exactly like her. She judged the convictions and motives of everyone she knew.

Sally took the outward expressions of someone else’s real faith and turned it into an absolute “rule for all of life.” She walked in the shoes of someone else’s convictions and then complained when they didn’t fit. If she saw a woman in pants and short hair, she decided she must be a feminist. If someone didn’t homeschool, they weren’t as “godly” as she was. If she saw someone with one or two children, she assumed they used birth control and weren’t truly thankful for their children (like she was). She became the judge, jury, and sometimes mental executioner of everyone around her.

She focused heavily on what “others” were or weren’t doing, and rarely considered her own sinful heart. She was going through the motions of someone else’s convictions, but had no idea why she was doing it – other than to be thought of by others (and herself) as “godly.” In a way, she wanted to be “part of the crowd” and a certain lifestyle seemed to be the secret handshake.

What Sally didn’t realize was that many of the people she was trying to emulate had no idea these things were going on in her head. Finally, after wearing herself out trying to live a formulaic lifestyle that reflected “someone else’s” convictions (not her own) she gave up.

Now she claims to be “set free” from her legalism and hunts for other “legalists,” so that she can self-righteously point out their sin (under the guise of warning others about legalism).

What Sally doesn’t realize is that she has superimposed her own past sins onto friends and strangers; and now she legalistically judges and condemns (publicly) anyone who, in her opinion, appears to live the way she used to live or “looks” the way she used to look. She has become legalistic in her anti-legalism and piously persecutes other Christians. The same sin she was guilty of before has simply changed shapes.

Pray for Sally, and those like her, that God would convict her heart, free her of legalism, and teach her to stop tearing down and dividing the church.

“The person who understands the evil in his own heart is the only person who is useful, fruitful, and solid in his beliefs and obedience. Others only delude themselves and thus upset families, churches, and all other relationships. In their self-pride and judgment of others, they show great inconsistency.” – John Owen

“The person who understands the evil in his own heart is the only person who is useful, fruitful, and solid in his beliefs and obedience. Others only delude themselves and thus upset families, churches, and all other relationships. In their self-pride and judgment of others, they show great inconsistency.” John Owen


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38 Responses to “Sally “Used to be” a Legalist…”

  1. Lori Devine says:

    Whew, I am surrounded by friends who have come out of true legalistic movements, and I have seen the shift you are talking about. It seems timely to me that you would be writing this serious for many personal reasons. I believe that satan has effectively divided us as a people with this tactic. Hunting out and shooting our own, destroying the unity that we should have as the Body of Christ. I am praying for God to teach me to love the way He loves. To help me to speak truth lovingly and in the light of grace, yet not overlooking truth.

  2. This helps to explain why so many anti-legalists will be the first to sum someone up by outward appearances. “All her girls have long hear and wear dresses so they MUST be legalists.”

  3. Anyway, thanks for this insightful article. I’m going to share it.

  4. Ashley says:

    I have to admit I have been guilty of this at times. There were indeed legalistic attitudes among people in the church and others like ours that I grew up in… however, not all people lived out other’s convictions based on legalistic rules nor did all of them look down on others who did not have the same convictions. Very good thoughts here. The main thing is that we each need to focus on our own relationship with Christ and quit paying so much attention to the details of other people’s lives and their relationship and walk with Christ.

  5. Lori says:

    We have taught our children to measure everything according to God’s Word. That is what should be our guide, not man-made rules. Then after that, pray about everything and let God lead you through open and closed doors. He is faithful.

  6. Stacy, thank you SO MUCH for this.

    My thoughts….

    As Christians thinking about secondary issues (and we do have to think about secondary issues) it’s not so much _where_ we draw the lines as what we _do_ with them once we’ve draw them. As long as the same old superiority persists, changing one crowd for another may not be as much of an evolution as appearances would suggest.

    “We would never celebrate Christmas (or drink wine, or eat rich foods). God approves of us for this, and those who don’t see it as we do aren’t as wise and good as we are. We should avoid them, write articles against them, and marginalize them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. They are Bad People.”

    “We know that we have liberty to celebrate what we like, drink what we like, and eat what we like. God approves of us for this, and those who don’t see it as we do aren’t as wise and good as we are. We should avoid them, write articles against them, and marginalize them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. They are Bad People.”

    What has really changed, after all? If it’s the same old us vs. them, approved vs. unapproved, wise vs. unwise, godly vs. ungodly mentality and rhetoric, then _nothing has changed_.

    “But the first group hurt me, so now I can slap them silly.” Well, that may be a strong temptation, but Romans 14 teaches a more excellent way.

    The legalist draws lines on nonessentials and judges others by them. Those lines can be as strict, or as liberal, as could ever be but whenever they are used to pressure others, to despise others, and to compliment oneself, something really basic to Christianity is missing or broken.

    Wherever there’s not much of “Be merciful to ME, a sinner,” more thought is needed. The real Christian life is all about being amazed by GRACE, not by ourselves and our latest, greatest, more perfect understanding on a bunch of secondary issues.

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    Excellent points, Valerie! Thank you!

    Lori, the problem is that both sides of any issue will say they are “measuring everything against God’s Word” and they will still come to different conclusions. The question is what will we do with that? Will we love our neighbor and extend grace (the same grace we hope to receive from God)? Or will we mock, belittle, shun, and assume the wort possible motives?

  8. Thandi says:

    Interesting piece! I know that for me, if I meet a sister who I know ‘KNOWS’ to dress modestly but still doesn’t, I feel sad for her. Mainly because I know what the young MEN at church say about immodesty. Come to think of it, in general, if someone’s fruits aren’t according to the Word, a Word I know they know, then I feel sorrow. BUT at the same time, I know that I haven’t lived a ‘perfect’ life always, so who am I to condemn? That very woman baring her breasts may be the strongest advocate for modesty in a week’s time. The last thing she needs is my attitude that she’s useless, lost and pathetic and NOT AS GOOD AS ME. God loves us all. My sins could very well be hidden-pride,lying…

    And yes, it’s sad that anti-legalists are thinking like this because it’s just as ‘bad’ as they were when they were still ‘legalists.’

  9. Becky says:

    This article caught my attention because of something that happend with our children.
    Once, several months after we had started attending a conservative church, I heard one of my girls say something, in a condeming manner about a young woman in a pair of jeans, and at least one of the other girls was agreeing with her. We practice feminine modesty, but I had never told them you weren’t really saved if you didn’t dress modestly. As it turns out, it didn’t matter that I had never actually told them that. There were several in the church that had made comments like that, and I had never contradicted what had been said in the childrens’ presence. I had also taken exception to a comment one of the ladies had said once about wearing pants. As a result of the environment we had them in, my allowing self righteousness to creep into my own life, and our neglect in teaching them otherwise, they had accepted it as the truth. Hearing that sort of thing coming out of my child’s mouth served as a wake up call.

  10. Jennifer says:

    You’re a kind woman, Becky.

  11. Tiana says:

    Dear Stacy,

    How should this impact Jane-used-to-be-an-antinomian?

    She spent most of her Christian life thinking that many parts of the Bible aren’t for “today” or don’t really apply to her. She was taught to believe that God doesn’t really care about outward appearances, only “the heart”. She learned to say, “Any choice that you make can be the right one as long as you’ve prayed about it,” with total sincerity.

    But then, God *changed* her heart and showed her how much joy there is in simple obedience. She used to work outside the home, and now she happily homeschools her children–and would be happy to welcome any more children that God might choose to bless her with. She used to think God didn’t have any interest in her clothing, and now she delights to dress in a modest, feminine way. She used to think “submission” was a dirty word, but now she realizes that she can lovingly serve Christ by being her husband’s helpmeet.

    How should Jane respond when faced with the issue of legalism? This is a dual-fronted battle for her. She already gets criticism from her friends who think she has “gone off the deep end”, joined a cult, etc. She is often accused of being “judgemental” when she tries to explain her choices to others.

    And then, she is bewildered by the reality that some of the people who live the way that she does don’t find any joy in it, or do it for all the wrong reasons. She meets people who try to “warn her” about the books she’s reading, people she’s listening to, etc. The kind of jaded “enslavement” that she reads about on the internet is completely foreign to her…and she certainly doesn’t want her children to grow to hate that which she considers to be a blessing.

    What’s a girl to do?

  12. rcjr says:

    Wow, great article Stacy, again. And great comment Tiana. We are inveterate Pelagians, aren’t we?

  13. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thank you, RC. That means alot coming from you! :-)

    Excellent comment, Tiana! And point well made. I especially appreciate this:

    “The kind of jaded “enslavement” that she reads about on the internet is completely foreign to her…and she certainly doesn’t want her children to grow to hate that which she considers to be a blessing.”

    Perhaps those who think Jane is doing these things out of enslavement, think so because that is how they would feel if they were doing these same things. They are measuring your actions by their own hearts.

    In other words, if I force my child to kiss me, he is acting as a slave and his actions have no meaning. In fact, he may become bitter for being forced. If he kisses me because he truly loves me and wants to express that love, then it is a blessing to us both, and he is behaving as a son, not a slave.

  14. Bailey says:

    I’ve greatly enjoyed these past few posts, Mrs. McDonald, and especially this post. I admit that in the pain of being judged and held to impossible, extrabiblical standards, I have turned to judging myself — “They all wear skirts, so they’re looking down on me from their legalistic perch.” That thought-process stinks of so much hypocrisy, and I’ve really had to work on repentance and humility in this issue.

    On a similar note, I think it’s common for disillusioned followers to turn on the person they followed in lockstep and accuse *them* of legalism, instead of admitting that they themselves were the ones who turned the convictions of the person/family/organization into a rigid system. There’s a lot of bitterness toward, say, the so-called “Vision Forum group” because of this. It’s so easy to point fingers and slander people who are happily and humbly living their convictions because we ourselves fell prey to legalism in the past.

  15. Alethea says:

    Exactly Bailey, Thank you Stacey. There is to some point, a righteous judgment. If I live and raise my children according to biblical standards, in so doing, I judge. It’s all about the attitude we have of others though, and the fact that God loves us all.

  16. Jennifer says:

    “It’s so easy to point fingers and slander people who are happily and humbly living their convictions because we ourselves fell prey to legalism in the past”

    Very true, it’s a slippery slope. But if other people present their way of living as the only road that’s Godly, this causes resentment too and is legalism.

    “Perhaps those who think Jane is doing these things out of enslavement, think so because that is how they would feel if they were doing these same things. They are measuring your actions by their own hearts”

    Bingo. This has happened so often, and so has the reverse, which is that people happy with their lifestyle assumed that those who didn’t like it were not living up to God’s plan. Humanity’s capable of many things, but a happy balance is actually a rare one. Look at our society: we’ve gone from sinfully shunning pregnant unwed girls (on a long-term basis) to glorifying unmarried sex and single mothers by choice! *exhales tiredly*

  17. Becky says:

    “Humanity’s capable of many things, but a happy balance is actually a rare one.”
    I really like this. I would love to quote you on this.

    Some of the comments on this post are excellent. I particularly liked Tiana’s and I’m glad I came back and checked it again to see what people were saying.
    Thanks Stacy

  18. Wendi says:

    Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes!
    I once knew a man who believed in one version of creation, and was sadly obnoxious and belligerent about it. Then he changed his mind and believed in a completely opposite version of creation and was sadly obnoxious and belligerent about it. He would say, “I used to be one of those, so I know how obnoxious they are, and I know they think….” but he didn’t know how ‘they’ thought. He had always been obnoxious and belligerent. The only thing that had changed was who and what he was obnoxious and belligerent to/about.

    A friend who dressed modestly but was harsh and judgmental about others who didn’t had a life crisis and began dressing immodestly- and she would tell others how she used to be judgmental and she understood how those long skirt wearing legalists were because she used to be one. But I’d never liked her harsh and overly critical attitude of others and had never joined in with her when she criticized them. She hadn’t really changed- she was always harsh and judgmental of those who dressed differently than she. She just changed the target group for her ire.

  19. Katy says:

    After reading this post, which I enjoyed, and the wonderful conversation in the comments…I am still at a loss. I *do* understand what everyone is saying…but when I see, for example, teens (or even their parents) at church wearing shorts as short as underwear, I must admit that I cringe inside.
    I definitely don’t desire to be judgmental in my mind…but I struggle.

    We are to hold each other accountable…gently and lovingly admonishing one another….so how do we do this without being “judgmental”? It feels as though so many have lost their sense of accountability and now things are spiraling downward in our country.

    When it is a non-believer dressing immodestly etc…I just feel very sad for them and try to be a good example. But when I get frustrated is when the person claims they *are* a Christian and still dresses/behaves in that way.

    I desire a meek and quiet spirit…loving and kind, gentle and sweet…I don’t want to ever be judgmental or mean. How *are* we to handle this as Christian women?

  20. Katy says:

    I also want to add that I relate so much to Tiana’s comment….and have the same questions!

  21. Ginger says:

    This is just great! :) I’m just learning to discern this problem. I have heard people say: “Oh they’re so legalistic!” when I was thinking: “They have such a precious heart! They obviously want to please the Lord even if they see the scripture differently than I do.”

    The truth is: legalism is our default as sinners. It’s the easy way.
    If I make up a rule that we don’t allow any Disney movies, then I don’t have to use any discernment about movie content. If I make up a rule that we’re only going to wear ankle-length skirts, I don’t have to use discernment about the long skirts with the slit up to my thigh.
    Legalism is lazy.

  22. Hayley Ferguson says:

    I too have thought about this issue from time-to-time and I realized not long ago that perhaps the true legalist is someone who insists you show them where in the Bible it says “thou shalt not” do this or that. Let me explain, there is the Spirit of the Law and there is the letter of the Law, which kills. I believe when we see a “flavour” in the Bible about this or that issue, then we live by that; then we are living by the Spirit of the Law.

    There are commandments for the New Testament Christian to live by, that are summed up in just 2 as we know. I don’t know anyone here to lovingly admonish, so please take this in the spirit of discussion and not condemnation…there is none in Christ Jesus.

    For example it is not loving my neighbour as myself if I dress in a way that shows others my breasts/cleavage because I’m then being a stumbling block and eroding the marriage relationship of others (I’ve even heard unsaved men talk about how attractive women’s backs are, especially when they have well defined muscles.)

    Now I think when women dress like this we know we are doing it to be attractive, but we may not have thought deeply about this (like when I was at school.) When I first went to church I would’ve stopped wearing short skirts if someone had lovingly shown me from Scripture why not. We have an example of what God considers a shame from Isaiah (47 or 48 I think.) Anyway I brought this up as, this seems to be one of the most controversial topics. I believe we are to judge, but in love and not hypocritically (take out your own beam first.) I think people often retort with don’t judge when they know they’re wrong and feel guilty or it’s not been approached in love or it’s been done hypocritically. Anyway these are just my .2c

  23. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Katy,

    I think you may be missing something here. There is a difference between “judging” someone by looking down on them with a self-righteous attitude like the Pharisee, and rightly evaluating sinful behavior, so that it can be corrected: If a man abandons his wife, and begins to bring another woman to church, is it not right to judge this and call him on it?

    I “judge” every day in my home in dealing with sin in my children. Sinful judgment involves an attitude of pride and condemnation. Godly judgment involves humility and seeks the repentance of brothers and sisters who are in sin, so that God may be glorified. The one who judges in godliness has his own sin ever before his eyes.

    “The person who understands the evil in his own heart is the only person who is useful, fruitful, and solid in his beliefs and obedience. Others only delude themselves and thus upset families, churches, and all other relationships. In their self-pride and judgment of others, they show great inconsistency.” John Owen

    There is a totally different heart attitude going on. Notice how the Pharisee prayed “with himself”:

    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14)

    Yes, we are called to extend mercy, and to remember in humility our own sinfulness (which will remind us of the grace and forgiveness we hope to receive from our Lord). And we must remember that everyone is in a different place on the path of sanctification. However, we are called to recognize sin within the Body of Christ (which involves a certain amount of godly judgment), and lovingly admonish those who are walking in it. It is not loving to see a brother or sister who is clearly walking in sin and say nothing.

    In fact, it’s lazy, and it’s a sign that we fear man more than we fear God. However, we must do so in humility and love, using discretion by attempting as much as possible to keep their sin private (Prov. 11:13; Matt. 18:15). Judge, but judge rightly, remembering your own weakness:

    I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.

    Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

    But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person.

    For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

    But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” 1 Corinthians 5:9–13

    You may be interested in the article One Way!

  24. Katy says:

    Thank-you Stacy for your words. It’s such a fine line, isn’t it? :)

  25. Thank you for this post as I love to hear, your Wisdom from the Word of God, Stacy.
    I do feel like something has to be said for the many moms who are struggling to raise modest teens, boys who are pure, girls who dress modestly, children who obey us out of pure love in their hearts and on and on it goes. We are faced with a society that has been deceived in so many areas and one is truly legalism. Unfortunately, the entire “homeschool” movement has fed this mentality…with ” steps to this and steps to that..” Homesteading, and the whole Dominionism movement.

    I am a mom of 8 children. Raised in a godly home with a Pastor for a dad. My dad was the Pastor who witnessed to Doug Philips and had him in our home for many years. I was the little 12 year old girl who took his plate and said that “the girls in our home clean up the kitchen” Never knowing how this would have affected his life in such a way. I did this because I LOVED my parents. I was trained to do this naturally.

    My mom never grew bitter in her role as a wife and mother, (desiring another life of ease) instead of lovingly submitting and caring for her family. She and my dad loved the LORD. They wanted to please and obey God. They taught us to do the things we do by example, from reading our Bible and a relationship with our Heavenly Father who we wanted to Honor because of His great sacrifice.

    If you, as a wife are not “saved” by the wonderful Grace of God, changed by His Grace and Redeemed by His cleansing Blood, broken over your own sinful self and realize that all you have or ever will be comes from HIS mercy and Grace…you will and are a legalist.

    The Person behind these laws is JESUS. You will become a bitter soul judging others and not following Christ. Do not think that any of these home school teachers ( Vision Forum, Apologia, whoever they are ) will help your family become what you want so bad for it to be without your sweet children coming to a saving Knowledge of the Lord. He does the saving, changing and redeeming. You can read all the books and blogs and strive to do it all but God has to do the Work of Salvation. Teach your children that they are sinners who need to be saved.

    We are not redemptive enough in our teaching as an entire group of Christians. There needs to be more teaching of the Holy Word of God and less on all of our outword forms of what to do. Every religion except Christianity tells us what we have to do..it is simply, By Grace, through Faith. If you are angry, because the little girl is tempting your boys by her scantily, dressed clothes and you want to protect their eyes, pray for that little girl and THANK God that you have ( hopefully) taught your boys to look away and be sad for her because she must not know Jesus and the ONE who came to save her from that.

    If you feel tempted to judge your neighbor because she isn’t homeschooling and has time to do the things that you wish you could do ( maybe exercise) and you feel jealous because hubby notices her but never says a word about all your hard work and dedication to the family…. Confess your sin and cling to your Lord. He knows what you need. If you don’t..you will be become judgmental and sinning and it will affect your precious family and your testimony.

    I see so many moms who are miserable in their role and feel burdened down with the “laws” that they think will help their family be what they want. It has nothing to do with this. Pray that God will do the Work in your family that he has promised to do. First, pray that God will save your children ..if they are becoming legalistic and God has revealed this to you check your heart before God and His Holy Word. He works through His Word! Not through ” Vision Forum or any other movement.

    These things are helpful, don’t get me wrong but Satan loves to distract us from the goal with “work oriented” faith. If you are tempted to keep judging and want to open your mouth and tell so and so that they are offensive, pray that they will hear the Word the way God intended it. That Pastors would stop compromising and preach truth.

    If you are suffering with no friends, thank God and count it all joy. This is your calling…and its not to be a martyr:) You can win others to Christ ( even if they are offended by your skirts and whatever) by your attitude and why you do it. I am sorry to go on and on but I love to help other moms in this area. P.S. Stacy, your book on Raising daughters is the best ever! I have 5 sisters and they are my best friends. God Bless you and your ministry.

  26. This is a good post, Stacy. I have alway’s called it “reverse-legalism”….as in “I’m so free …you have to be like me!” LOL! In the end it’s our heart and how we treat those we come in contact with that convinces them of our sincere love for Jesus … and of His sincere love for them! We can always choose to wear a smile and show the joy of the Lord in our countenance!

  27. Natalie says:

    Love this…and the comment thread is great too…would love to link to it, but can’t seem to get the button to work on my blog…I’m just getting some jibberish showing up on the sidebar rather than the button. Have not had a problem with your other buttons…any ideas?

  28. RG says:

    One of the biggest problems is that the term ‘legalism’ is thrown around so readily where God calls us to be discerning. Legalism, defined properly, is doing good works in order to get to heaven, deserve heaven, or keep one’s salvation. It is living the laws of God in order to secure or keep salvation. It has little to do with a Christian’s walk as concerns standards of righteousness they hold. Getting past the misuse of this word, this article is a good heart check for anyone on either side of the godly standards issue.

  29. Michelle says:

    This was such an insightful article, Stacey. It is timely as well because I was just recently grappling with the truth about Family Integrated Churches after hearing and reading about so many negative things.

    I was viewing FIC’s through the lenses of some personal bad experiences I have had with people in the past who were very tense, angry and controlling people.

    Now that I have spent a great deal of time on both Voddie’s and Scott’s sites, (as well as just watching Divided) both my pastor husband and I are now realizing how much we resonate with FIC’s in our convictions.

    We still have many specific questions that aren’t answered on anyone’s sites, but I have stopped listening to all the dissenting voices and my own experiences.

  30. Sarah Mae says:

    Stacy, I’m sure I must have read this before, but I just read it again. SO good. So glad I read it.

  31. Stacy McDonald says:

    I’m so glad, Sarah! Miss chatting with you!

  32. L2L says:

    what we are missing in all of this is community. The blogshere has made it so easy to “love” from afar. Even within our own churches there is no safe haven for women to become intimate friends. How sad. I think there is a dangerous movement, mean with the right intentions but the message is being delivered in the wrong way, called biblical womanhood. Christ never called out a person’s sin before making a personal touch, EXCEPT the religious rulers. We have women within the church wanting to change what a woman wears or where she works before trying to befriend them and just letting the love of Christ overflow into her life. A true Titus woman is all about making friendship that mentor with her actions not her words or her posts. What if the body of Christ embraced the woman who wore a dress to tight and made her feel valued and loved instead of going to her and saying you have to cover up. What if the body of Christ willingly watched a mother’s children because she had to work late and modeled for that family a true family night worship instead of telling her God did not mean for you to work outside of the home. It should be God softening a woman’s heart to make these changes and not us using peer pressure to convince them to do so because when we do, we become a part of the problem and their actions are self improvement and not transformation by God.

  33. Stacy McDonald says:

    Michelle – I just noticed I didn’t respond to your comment – I thought I had. So sorry!

    I think you’ve touched on the problem. People have baggage. We have hurts. We have a bad experience and then we allow that to color our opinions of perfect strangers. We need to all guard against doing this in every aspect of life. Just as we want others to think the best of us, we too should think the best of those we meet, and not automatically assume that someone who resembles a person or group from our past in some way, is guilty of the same sins (whether that be legalism or anything else)!

  34. Stacy McDonald says:

    Thanks, L2L, for sharing, though I think perhaps your comment is a little off topic here. The point of the article is that people who have struggled with legalism themselves often superimpose their own past sins onto others and falsely accuse strangers of legalism.

  35. Jennifer says:

    I think it’s good to “love from afar” through online teachings and such, if we can’t be in person.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much, Becky! :)

  37. I totally agree with this post, and can very much relate. I feel like I’ve encountered these same emotions in my own heart and have seen others struggle with it. I saw many people post about admonishment and coming to our brother or sister in love if they are sinning. That is true…. but we must be certain that we don’t take our laws and call them “God’s laws”. There is no verse that says skirts only. There is no verse that directly talks about birth control, home-schooling, or short hair cuts for women. There are some that people draw from, but they are inferring a bit at times. If it isn’t crystal clear from God’s word, then you shouldn’t be super quick to call it sinful and be pointing it out to someone as sin. Many women who love and serve Jesus who have taken birth control and worn pants will be in heaven. Now I see the reverse of this article as well, and I’ve encountered this as my own sanctification has taken place, people who see my changed life and want to scream “you’re a legalist” simply because I’m pursuing holiness in the way that God has lead and shown me and my family. I think we know real sin when we see it…. and those are the things that we can go to our brothers and sisters in love and speak to them about. We definitely need to focus on the inside of the cup, not so much on the outside. :-) Thanks for this article. I couldn’t agree more!

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