A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abuse and Legalism: How the Pharisees Creep In Among us

I am working right now on the second sermon in my series The Religion of the Pharisees.  I don’t have time to do a full-blown blog post right now but I HAD to at least get this much out to you.  It hit me hard when I read Galatians 2:4-6 as I had never understood it before.  The following paragraphs are from my yet unfinished sermon.  Oh man, it’s almost Sunday!  Anyway, this is really, really good stuff that the Apostle Paul is telling us here:

Our churches are in bondage in many, many cases because the traditions of the Pharisees have been foisted upon us. Their traditions are always abusive, power-hungry lording-it-over in nature, and always put people in bondage. They kill the spirit of a person.

Galatians 2:4-6 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in–who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery– (5) to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. (6) And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)–those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me.

See it. Pharisees come in amongst God’s people secretly and their whole goal is to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ. They want to “catch” us eating what we want, going where we want, reading what we want, living as the Spirit of Christ in us frees us to live! THE PHARISEE CANNOT STAND OR TOLERATE FREEDOM!! And what is their goal in this spying? What do they do with the “data” they gather? They use it to condemn us, to accuse us, and to bring us into slavery to themselves in the damning, condemning system that they have created themselves from their Spiritless handling of the Word of God.

Also notice carefully that Paul says he did not regard “those who seemed to be influential” with any partiality.  Hear that?  One of the ways that we fall prey to the bondage of the religion of the Pharisees is that we idolize people who have managed, by hook or crook, to get themselves exalted in the Christian church.  The big names.  The big guns.  This is a trap.  And I am afraid that we have all gotten ourselves all snared up in it.  Remember, it is the religion of the Pharisees that is very, very often (if not always) at the root of the abuse that abuse victims are being subjected to by their churches.

7 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog.

  2. Lisa Williams-Harris

    Amen! Wow, did I experience this last Sunday! I can’t wait to listen to your completed sermon! I feel like it is one spirit that has had me in a stranglehold my whole life. It just insidiously creeps from person to person, victims themselves really of this sinister one who uses them, torturing me with its bondage and judgment. Now that my mom is dead and my husband has left the home, it will use the church to keep me trapped. It doesn’t seem to care who or what has me in bondage, just as long as it can keep me there.

  3. Anonymous

    “Also notice carefully that Paul says he did not regard “those who seemed to be influential” with any partiality. Hear that? One of the ways that we fall prey to the bondage of the religion of the Pharisees is that we idolize people who have managed, by hook or crook, to get themselves exalted in the Christian church. The big names. The big guns. This is a trap. And I am afraid that we have all gotten ourselves all snared up in it. Remember, it is the religion of the Pharisees that is very, very often (if not always) at the root of the abuse that abuse victims are being subjected to by their churches.”

    This reminds me of something CS Lewis cautioned against, in his chapter on Connivance in his book on Psalms, that is, the acceptance of powerful people who are abusive: ‘Lead us not into temptation often means, among other things, “Deny me those gratifying invitations, those highly interesting contacts, that participation in the brilliant movements of our age, which I so often, at such risk, desire.”…What makes this contact with wicked people so difficult is that to handle the situation successfully requires not merely good intentions, even with humility and courage thrown in; it may call for social and even intellectual talents which God has not given us. It is therefore no self-righteousness but mere prudence to avoid it when we can…Not because we are ” too good” for them. In a sense because we are not good enough. We are not good enough to cope with all the temptations, nor clever enough to cope with all the problems, which an evening
    spent in such society produces.’

    It seems like he is warning us not to rub shoulders with such people; otherwise, we run the danger of “conniving” with evil and becoming allies with them.

  4. Pepe

    Good points ….thought of this verse

    Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Being a follower of Jesus Christ makes one a true ‘counter culture’ person!

    In the world but not OF it …amen!

    Luk 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

  5. So so GOOD!!!

  6. Anonymous

    Jeff,
    This is a great post and one you might consider re-running as many readers don’t have time to check the old posts. It means so much more to me now than it would have if I’d read this when you originally posted it.

    This is my husband and those like him to a T! I realize it’s because they are only seeing through their minds eye which does not process empathy (which is the ability to put yourself in another person’s position). And because he is always deceptive and manipulative he thinks that others are as well. People like him aren’t fettered by normal things like guilt or shame and are actually lawless (without God’s law imprinted on their mind and heart). So when they see that we who belong to Jesus have freedom, they are angry and jealous. Why? Because psychopaths consider themselves to be above/beyond the law but by golly! the rest of us should have to be subject to it! Psychopaths see it as their RIGHT to flaunt established rules (behind closed doors and in their hearts, and sometimes publically too) but they believe the rest of us to be sheep that should have to be shepherded and slaughtered at their whim and will. If some of these sheep have escaped the wolf in sheep’s clothing that they are, surely it is because they are sinning!. In their mind they believe themselves to be god–so we are sinning against them!

    My husband actually sets me up so that he can “catch” me “sinning.” ( I realize now it is simply how his mind works all the time. He expects to be worshiped 24/7 so anything I do that is less than licking his feet and staring at him in perpetual rapt adoration is considered a direct violation against god!. He believes he is benevolent because he hasn’t killed me yet even though in his mind, I deserve it.) Ah time! In the past I would have defended myself, tried to figure out why he would perceive this in me and on and on. Now I simply say, “So?” Psychopaths don’t feel sinful in the way God has made it so that those of us who choose to have a sensitive conscience do. Since they don’t have the feelings of shame and guilt, they can only see what produces this emotion in others and grab onto it and try to induce it to try to enslave them as Galatians 2 describes.

    Another Bible passage that I never really noticed before that means so much more now. Thank you! I LOVE God’s word!

  7. Finding Answers

    Legalism pre-supposes individuals prefer rules over relationships. “If x says this, respond with y.” “If x does this, respond with y.”

    If the individual prefers relationships over rules, they are open to sharing outside their rule book.

    Legalism may be predictable, but does not allow for humanity.

Leave a comment. It's ok to use a made up name (e.g Anon37). For safety tips read 'New Users Info' (top menu). Tick the box if you want to be notified of new comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: