When Legalism Hurts

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions…..(Mk 7:8).
God loves people. Yet, sometimes what I get a sense of in the church is that God loves rules more than people. God created rules, boundaries, and commands so that people could be cared for, protected and blessed. He didn’t create people to just protect rules. When we start to live like that, we become hardened people who forget to first listen and care for the person in front of us. I have been that leader, who cared more about the sin than the person sinning. Behind every sinner is a story, a journey they are walking with God. When I neglect to hear the story, I have proven that truly, my heart is far from God.
We must remember that Jesus died for people. People with messy lives, pain, and brokenness. Jesus offers salvation for those kinds of people. After all, you were one of them. Sometimes we forget where we came from, and quite frankly, where we still are. I can see within my own heart, at times, a need to project an image, instead of a desire to display the love of God to a world full of other sinners, being made into the image of God, just like me.
Do not neglect to care for the individual first before you hold to the commandments of God. If you do not, you will only push them away and indirectly communicate to them that they are not welcomed here. Their brokenness is not acceptable and their story isn’t worth hearing.
I’m done being a Pharisee. I’ve been one for far too long. Caring about my own image. Prioritizing my own need for approval. Oh Lord, let my life be one that cares more about people than my own self. Help me to see what matters most in light of your Kingdom. I don’t want to be full of legalism. I want to be full of your love!
Abba, daddy, you are so good. You are the God who sees me. You see brokenness and you are not repelled by it. You see people, like me, who don’t always get it right and still you offer your love. Father, I want to sit in your grace today, because quite honestly, I need it for my life. Jesus, be my joy so I can be your joy to others today, I pray, in your name, Amen.

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