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  1. […] Introduction: some self-observations about legalism Part 1: what is “legalism”? Part 2: standing under the broken heart Part 3: hiding in shame, packing up my dreams Part 4: when you “trust and obey” but your heart still gets broken Part 5: when you’ve been hurt by legalism, hold onto faith Part 6: What do Brad Pitt, Josh Groban, and Sleepless in Seattle have in common? Part 7: perfection is not possible Part 8: finding healing and freedom in secular music Part 9: “I will keep believing that God still has a plan” Part 10: Plan A, 2.0 Part 11: Modesty: a picture of grace Part 12: Disconnect: when God just doesn’t seem relevant Part 13: Roses in the dumpster: seeing God in everyday life Part 14: Cheating on my church Part 15: Can you hear Jesus calling? Part 16: Checklists, control, and motherhood Part 17: forget where you “should be” and “give God your ugly” Part 18: When your church isn’t meeting your needs Part 19: on being “in your place” in church Part 20: when your spiritual journey doesn’t look like his Part 21: “Well…it feels comfortable…” Part 22: There are no “entry level positions” with God Part 23: “Sitting on the premises” – sometimes, it’s okay not to serve Part 24: The real me Part 25: “You are God, You are God, Of all else I’m letting go!” Part 26: Leave it all behind… Part 27: Accepting grace Part 28: My motivation: “chosen, holy, and dearly loved” Part 29: what grace is not: the pendulum and sinning “that grace may abound” Part 30: From legalism into grace: one man’s story […]

  2. Maybe this is just semantics, but I like your dierciptson of the difference between punishment and discipline: it is a difference in motive. I have seen church discipline implemented out of a variety of wrong motives retaliation for hurting or embarrassing the church, fear that the sinner will soil the church’s reputation, fear that the children in the church will get the wrong idea if we DON’T punish the sinner, pandering to the feelings of the victim(s) , or just trying to be compliant with the church’s by-laws. I could go on and on with the wrong motives. It seems to me that there is only one right motive: genuine love and concern for the spiritual well-being of the sinner (what you describe as the desire to bring inner growth). That is God’s priority. When it is done with the right motives, it should be the most sobering and difficult thing a church ever does. Where there is even a hint of gladness or satisfaction in the hearts of the church, that is a huge red flag that motives are not right and that we are just punishing as opposed to disciplining.Yes, I have seen it done well in several instances. It was excruciatingly painful each time. There were lots of touches and counseling of the person all along the way in those instances. Most of them actually involved many more than just three meetings (I believe Jesus’ example in Matthew 18 is more illustration and less detailed instruction, at least in terms of the number of meetings involved). And the process, when done well, always involves a great deal of gut-wrenching prayer, because it is a process which we will never get any good at on our own we will always need the clear direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit for it to be done correctly.

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