The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
1 Corinthians 15:56
…I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. …I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
The fundamentalist/legalist approach I was raised under treated so many things as “taboo”. The guilt, shame, and fear they induced included many “modern” things like – believe it or not – pinball, playing cards, movies, women’s pants, men’s hair over the ears, facial hair, and many other ridiculous items.
In my experience, their focus on what you should NOT do merely encouraged many people to try it (unless they live in fear of breaking the rules, which is no way to live… after all, the apostle John wrote that “perfect love casts out all fear” and the apostle Paul wrote “God has not given us the spirit of fear”. Nonetheless, fear was the driving force for people who were supposed to be “free indeed because Christ set them free”.
Instead, I think they should have been encouraging and inspiring people with the values and principles and benefits of the kingdom. When you are focused on good, inspiring things, you end up being too busy doing what you LOVE to have any time to think about trying forbidden fruit and worrying that if you did try it you would be rejected and unloved by your community.
It doesn’t matter what faith tradition the fundamentalist/legalist you are from (even non-Christian)… in the end it’s the same spirit and the same response. So…to HELL with fear, shame, guilt, manipulation. Let’s choose the freedom of LOVE.