Growing up in a straight-laced family had its benefits: conscientious parents, good enduring friends, hospitality, stability, and protective morality. Hard work and integrity were DNA-like in their influence. The thought of disappointing others was as compelling as the fear of going to Hell.
But the same things that functioned as a moral compass could also morph into something ugly. Call it legalism or self-righteousness, it is the tendency to become superficial in regard to the big, nuclear virtues like love, compassion, and faithfulness. Jesus called it “straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel.” Continue reading →