Wives: The Neo-Legalism

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Once there was a young man who liked to suit himself in all his leisure activities. He had very strong views on Christian liberty, believing that liberty to be threatened on every hand. Of course, in his mind Christian liberty was defined as the right to do whatever he felt like doing-watching grimy art films until one in the morning, smoking cigarettes, talking about the need for aesthetic sensitivity while dressing in a way that argued the contrary point.

Nevertheless, when the time came, this young man married and everything seemed to go quite well, for a while. But when selfishness has been rationalized for an extended time, and made to appear as a Christian duty, it is not surprising that this young man began to suit himself yet again, going off to hang out with all his old friends. He was hardening himself against this new threat to Christian liberty, this new law, this woman with all her unspoken yet imperious demands. Her emotional needs were obviously a neo-legalism that needed a firm hand.

But of course, the Scriptures say that a man reaps what he sows. The Bible does not say that a man reaps what the preacher cooks up in his overheated imagination. And a man does not reap the threat that others pose to Christian liberty. He reaps what he sows.

And what selfish men sow in their marriages is usually seen in the harvest of lonely wives. It was no different with this young man. Of course, when his marriage blew up about ten years later, no one was more astonished than he.

Finally seeking counsel, he asked his pastor what had happened. When it was explained to him, he at last saw it, but still sought to justify himself, at least a little. “Why did no one warn me?” he asked. “We did,” the pastor said, “many times.”

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