Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped. Shall we pluck them out of the sky?

-Martin Luther


I grew up in a church where you learned very quickly not say the wrong thing—or look, act, or think any other way than you were told.  Looking back now, it was rather cultish.  Boys had their own section of the beach, the church bus, and the hallway for that matter.  Blue jeans were frowned upon and any music that had a beat reminiscent of rock music was of the devil.  Movies that didn’t feature Jesus sporting some goofy blue gown and sash were  discouraged.  Red lip-stick was banned  and colorful skirts above the ankles were devices of Satan.  Basically, anything that might be fun was frowned upon.  I can’t say I looked forward much to hanging out with such a sour group of sanctified saints.  Even hanging out was evil—if I remember right.

My upbringing served me well in fostering a healthy skeptism and a grave mis-trust for religion—when I finally did bump into Jesus it was refreshing to say the least. 

Because we are aware that freedom can be abused and maybe have seen it firsthand (or in my case—been there, done that) we’d rather err on the side of thinking—Freedom might just not be the best thing, there has to be some restraints to keep this ‘freedom thing’ in check.  And then after a few of our own failings, we conclude—I think I’ll write some guidelines for myself.   In turn,we put together some guidelines for our weaker-younger brothers making anything that might be an occasion for abuse off-limits and before you know it, we have a whole manual something along the lines of How to be a good-little Christian.  It’s no wonder freedom never gets a snowballs chance to even make it’s debut.   

 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?    (Galatians 5:13-15, The Message Bible)            

A major difference between legalism and freedom is that one can be legislated and the other cannot.