The tag “Legalism” has become a common—and unfortunately appropriate— indictment against religion, churches, and Christians. We wantonly toss the term around; yet I believe we fail to fully understand it. As we accuse others of Pharisaism, I wonder if we are being a bit Pharisaic ourselves.
One of the problems with legalism is the belief that we know what is needed, and that we’ve done enough. The problem with legalism is Enoughism.
Let’s listen to this story of a young Pharisee and see if we can spot ourselves.
And let’s try to find out how to overcome it.
Video length: 3 minutes 54 seconds
I’ve never thought of the parable that way; as me being the Jewish recipient of the Samaritan’s kindness and of Jesus being the Samaritan. But it makes me reflect, and I like the point of view. It strenghtens me and makes me better able to help others when I consider that what I do is nothing more than passing on to them what Jesus has done for me.
It is like I am a battery in a flashlight that stores electricity (goodness) from Jesus and then passes it on to others as light.
Thanks for sharing the idea.
Beliefs of the Heart
John, I love your line, “It strengthens me and makes me better able to help others when I consider that what I do is nothing more than passing on to them what Jesus has done for me.”
That is it! Legalism and Enoughism relies on our own strength, so we always find a way to do less, we say it is enough, and we look down on others who don’t do as much as us.
The Gospel admits we CAN’T do it, so we see what he did for us, and THAT gives us strength.