True Love or Legalism?
Sometimes in my Christian walk, I am accused of being legalistic or dogmatic, meaning the accuser thinks I am just checking off a 'to-do' list of how to get to heaven. I remind myself (and them, if they listen long enough) that as we keep God's commandments (the perfect law of liberty, as it states in James 1:25) we do so according to God's stipulations, not our own. It is not a card-punch system, as if to say, Well that is out of the way for today! But it is a life-style. God is able to change the heart when we come to Him in truth, and we do His will out of love for Him and to share that precious story with the lost. Many times I've been accused of being unloving in that, or legalistic, as if we are able to define these words by our own standards. Although it hurts, especially when coming from someone I care deeply about, I remind myself that God sets the standards. If someone perceives my quoting scripture or sharing what God requires for salvation, is that loving or unloving? If I tell someone who wants to jump off a bridge what the consequences of that jump are, do I care? Do I show love? I think you get my point. Sometimes the other person might not like what I say, but that does not change the love behind the words. I try as I bring up my own children to impress on them that initial perception is not always a reliable guide. We must look beyond that initial perception to the truth and intent of those words or actions. In other words, It is up to us to respond with thoughtful deliberation, not impulse.
Remember that God is the great Creator, it is He who has made us (Psalm 100:3) and He who sets the guidelines of our salvation through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38; James 4:12; 1 John 2:3) I hope and pray today that we will all consider the truth of God's word and draw closer to Him as we become more like Him each day, loving in truth.