Made up rules

11 Mar

You know what got the Pharisees in trouble?  It was the fact that they became so ritualistic that they started adding MORE and MORE rules and regulations to follow in order to be in good standing before God; and pretty soon they were implying things God never intended from the Law at all.

We see that play out clearly when they start having an anxiety attack that Jesus heals a crippled woman on the Sabbath. GASP! That’s work! Healing is work! And Jesus, so frustrated, puts them in their place. (Luke 13:10)

The same happens to our testimony to the lost world when we take one verse of Scripture out of context and imply something that isn’t actually said at all in Scripture.  Especially when you look at the verses around it, or even pay close attention to what Jesus was constantly teaching on and pointing out as what was most important to Him.

Someone posted this on Facebook. (Honestly,  I dislike FB more than I like it but I keep it for my Norwex business page)

wrong

Here’s the thing – I’m not saying vulgarity has a place in Christianity. However – what I am saying is that this verse was not written so people wouldn’t use four letter words.  In fact, swearing is cultural.  And words have taken on vulgar meanings over time that were never associated with them when the words were created.

This verse, when you read all of James 1:19-27 is about the moral filth, hypocrisy, lack of concern for orphans and widows, and the pollution of our souls by the world to care more about things of no eternal value than what God concerns Himself with.  When you pair that with what Jesus says is the most important to Him (Love God first and your neighbor like yourself) along with His great concern with keeping yourself pure sexually, not gossiping or slandering others, not praising God while cursing men, not withholding good from those when it’s in your power to act, not storing up earthly treasures, looking after those who can’t speak for themselves, it becomes so much more clear what He actually considered worthless religion and the point He was making.

God isn’t reminding us not to say four-letter words in this verse.  He’s telling us to stop talking about other people – especially other believers.  Stop letting the world decide what’s of value and compromise what comes out of our mouths that contradicts what we say we believe in our hearts and therefore, muddy up the gospel message. He wants us to use our words to give life and not speak death over others.

If we tell the lost they’re in trouble for swearing – not only are we putting rules on them that God didn’t give…. we’re neglecting to share the importance that the truth of this whole passage is really that the overflow from the heart is what actually comes out of the mouth.

If our heart is polluted by the world, even if we claim that in our mind we know there is a God and think we are religious, it’s worthless.  But if our heart is right with God, our mouth will testify to that because we will closely watch what we say to honor Him.

And personally, I think some vulgar talk that has nothing to do with a single “curse word” is more filthy and nasty than when someone accidentally says the “d-word”. But, maybe that’s just me.

 

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2 Responses to “Made up rules”

  1. Elizabeth March 12, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    Excellent post, Kayla. Legalism is an enormous problem among those who claim to be Christian today. Tenets of men are always supported by either taking verses out of context, running with it too far in personal interpretation, or both. Its EXHAUSTING and so damaging to those usually helpless ones, such as children, who are taught a much skewed version of scripture. It took me years to get to the place where I knew the truth and it finally made me free. Thanks for choosing to write about this. I hope you are regaining you joy, my sister. Enjoy your posts so much!

    • Kayla Gulick March 12, 2016 at 8:14 am #

      I agree totally that this is just one teeny, tiny area where legalism has infiltrated the church and done so much damage.

      I’m so thankful God’s promises are true that He’ll reveal Himself to us when we seek Him so we don’t have to be stuck just relying on the interpretations of others.

      I am finding so much JOY. God is doing so much in me. Thanks for checking on me!!

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