Legalism, Standards and Convictions
- By Indu Shanmugam
- Published 06/24/2007
Indu Shanmugam is a 20-something, college student from Oregon, USA. She is majoring in English literature and language. She also studied Theology for a short period. She wants to be a teacher. As a literature enthusiast, she enjoys literature of all types and from writers of various backgrounds from the classics, French realists, Christian writings like C.S Lewis and South Asian literature. As for her own writings, "I am still trying to find and develop my own voice." She sees the art of the written word as a way to speak about Christ and explore truth. Before she met Jesus Christ, she has been searching for the meaning of life through experimentation of other religions, philosophies and ideas. At the age of 17, she accepted Christ after a powerful encounter with God through a miracle. God's presence and deep truths in the Bible fuel her creativity. She is involved in church activities and has a love for the church and would like to see every believer grow, become closer to God and live fruitfully. She loves traveling, sipping bubble teas, theatre, music, films and hanging out with friends and has a weakness for cheesecake.
There are reasons for standards and convictions. These do not apply only to pastors, lay pastors or leaders. The reason is becase all Christians are to be a part of God's kingdom purposes. People should be able to see a difference in you. The Bible says that you are the light and salt of the earth, and if you lose it, whats the point? When I was a non-Christian, I have seen some hypocritical Christians doing things that I would not even do as a non-Christian. And they used to look down on me because I didn't go to church.
But, here is the deal. The intention between them matters. At the same time, some people say, "Its only the intention that matters. You can't judge me by the way I look, act or dress." That's true but suppose you saw me in a mini-skirt, tiny low-cut shirt that leaves nothing to the imagination. What intention do you suppose I would have?
Then, there are people who accuse others and the church of being judgmental. There are some judgmental people and churches. But, the main reason for the 'judmentalism' is simply because when the person comes in, he doesn't want his beliefs to be challenged. Not only do some people want to continue living their old ways, they want others and the church to approve the ways that are not according to God.
Then again, there are some people who are legalistic and have a self-righteous attitude. In the past I have been put down by people who thought they were holier-than-me. One person actually told me I was wasting my time in Bible College. The reasons were probably shallow. He didn't even know me. He based it on shallow things such as not having a Christian background or lineage. I have been judged and hurt by people. But, I forgave them and thought let God deal with them. It was hard to. It was because he has issues with insecurity, weird ideas of masculinity and was very immature.
I feel a relief because I finally found the balance between them.