Legalism Versus “Good Samaritanism

unnamed (4)

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”1

The point I want to make today is that we need to be aware of the curse and devastating effects of legalism which is still very much alive and well in various circles today in both secular and religious institutions. Legalists are basically insecure people who use rules and regulations to control others and to keep themselves feeling safe. It is of course a false security.

Jesus ripped apart the legalistic religious Pharisees of his day who loved their legalistic man-made rules more than they loved people. No wonder Jesus condemned them. And how like Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan where a Jewish man had been robbed and beaten and left by the side of the road in great pain and distress. When a religious priest came by and saw him, he passed by on the other side of the street. Another religious leader did exactly the same thing. But a man the Jews despised, a Samaritan, “took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.”2

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please deliver me from the curse of legalism and help me to be like the Good Samaritan. Because of all that You have done for me, give me a compassionate heart for others who, like me, are also in need. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’s name, amen.”

1. James 1:27.
2. See Luke 10:30-37.