Christian legalism focuses on the box. Christian legalism emphasizes no. It says, “You’re not allowed to do that. You’re not allowed to do this.” And that causes problems!
It causes problems in a lot of marriages. I’ve been there, but I no longer try to control my wife or my children. If you try to control your wife, then things will get bad for your family. I’ve seen men, including myself, say to their wives, “You know what, as long as you live the way I say to live, then everything’s okay. But if you don’t, then I’m going to get angry, and basically, you’re not going to like it when I’m angry.” And when men start controlling, it gets really bad. Then you’ve got your family living at the address of misery.
What good is this? How does your family feel when you tell them that they can only make you happy if they live up to your standards? It’s an impossible situation! You’ll only make your family miserable.
It’s the same with any other relationship. Your friends don’t like you when you tell them they have to do what you say, right?
Grace allows us to be free. Grace allows us to liberate each other. When I go home at the end of the day, I am not living in expectation. I don’t have to stake my happiness on what my wife is or isn’t doing. I don’t go home thinking, “Great, unless my wife is doing what I want her to do, then I’m going to be miserable.” And I’m not making her worried or anxious. She isn’t wondering what to do or how to make me happy. When I get home, I assess the situation, and then I say, “Okay! How can I help?”
And when my wife has an opinion, I listen to it. When she wants to do something, I don’t try to stop her. I help her. I don’t feel compelled to say, “No, that’s not how I’d do it.” If she wants to do something a certain way, then that’s her call to make. She’s her own person, and that’s great!
Truly living in grace is an amazing experience. I feel so free, living without expectation of how things have to be. And I love living in a grace-based relationship. I don’t have to demand that my wife or my children live a certain way. I don’t want to control their demeanor, or control everything they do! God made everyone to be different. God gave us all different personalities. And if this is what God has done, then this is a good thing. Why would I try to control what God has made, or change what God has given?
When you have Christ in you, and He works through you, and you live in that grace, then you already live in a fulfilled law. You don’t have to focus on the dos and don’ts. Now, it’s all about righteousness.
More on grace next time. See you Monday.