Regular readers of the humble ramblings know that I started my journey in a legalistic church. We had several bound volumes of things that were a big NO!
In fact, our search for the Holy Grail of moralism made us a Monty Python version of church.
"We are the knights who say … NO!"
Here is a little legalism sampler from my youth:
NO mixed swimming.
NO rock and roll music.
NO slacks for women.
NO long hair for men.
You get the idea. Not surprisingly it took me a while to figure out grace and freedom in Christ. The irony is that there are a few noes in the New Testament that we somehow overlooked. For example, here is little "no" verse that would have come in handy.
So now there is NO condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (Romans 8:1-2 NLT)
That would have been a refreshing mist of grace to our parched flock. Or how about these "no" verses.
This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is NO fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4, NLT)
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is NO commandment greater than these." (Mark 12, NLT)
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps NO record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. (1 Corinthians 13, NLT)
"I have been crucified with Christ and I NO longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2, NLT)
That is a very different "no" list than the one above.
NO commandment greater than to love your God and your neighbor.
NO record of wrong doing when you love one another.
NO longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.
I have NO problem living out of that list of noes. No kidding.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award-winning television sports director, author and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring 'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for Those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.