Test everything; hold fast what is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21
I find it relevant; perhaps you will, too.
by Jerry Bridges
“Controllers'” are people who aren't willing to let you live your life before God as you believe He is leading you.
They have all the issues buttoned down and have cast-iron opinions about all of them. These people only know black and white. There are no gray areas to them.
They insist you live your Christian life according to their rules and their opinions. If you insist on being free to live as God wants you to live, they will try to intimidate you and manipulate you one way or another. Their primary weapons are guilt trips, rejection, or gossip.
These people must be resisted. We must not allow them to subvert the freedom we have in Christ.
Paul treated the legalism in the Galatian church as heresy, and he called down a curse on its perpetrators. I'm not prepared to go that far with our present-day legalists/controllers, but I want to tell you their actions are no incidental matter.
Their presence in our evangelical ranks is much more than a minor irritant, like a fly buzzing around our heads. There are spiritual casualties all over our nation today because of the effects of legalistic controllers in their lives.
Controllers have been around a long time. More than three hundred years ago—in 1645—the Puritan Samuel Bolton wrote these instructive words on the issue of Christian freedom:
“Let us never surrender our judgments or our consciences to be at the disposal and opinions of others, and to be subjected to the sentences and determinations of men.
. . . It is my exhortation therefore to all Christians to maintain their Christian freedom by constant watchfulness. You must not be tempted or threatened out of it; you must not be bribed or frightened from it; you must not let either force or fraud rob you of it.”
- SAMUEL BOLTON
. . . Freedom and grace are two sides of the same coin. We cannot enjoy one without the other. If we are to truly live by grace, we must stand firm in the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus.
JERRY BRIDGES, Transforming Grace
For freedom Christ has set us free;
stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
* * *
How did you handle it?