Why Moralism Is Bad For Your Mental Health by David Lee Chu Sarchet

There is a huge problem that has infiltrated the Christian church. This virus has even affected many Reformed churches as well. It is a shame how we should properly understand the grace of God is found only in Jesus Christ and the implications of what that truly means. Sadly, we still have some nasty tendencies to be self-righteous.

However, this issue has been inside the Church since the first century.

The apostle Paul told the Galatian church that he was appalled how they so easily were going astray. They started believing another gospel other than the one they learned. You see, the Galatian church was falling into a trap of moralism.

What is moralism? Moralism is characterized by “an undue emphasis on morality.”  The rest of the the book of Galatians had some of the strongest words speaking against this moralism. As the Apostle Paul tells us in chapter 5 verse 1 of that book: 

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” 

The main reason why moralism is so dangerous is because it chains believers down to a yoke of slavery. Christians tell other Christians that they cannot celebrate Halloween, watch rated R movies, drink, smoke, or do anything else that is not expressly forbidden in Scripture. They are unwittingly tying them to a burden that they cannot bear.

Jesus Christ has come to set the captives free, not to make us slaves all over again. These Christians may have the best of intentions, but the moralism is like a poison in a believer’s life. There are some different ways that moralism destroys a believer’s mental health. These ways are the following: 

1) It destroys our joy 
2) It destroys our resolve 
3) It destroys our hope 

I will elaborate on these points in a minute. First let me say that I am not attacking any Christian who thinks that for themselves certain things are wrong. Nor am I saying that Christians should not have any kind of morality. If a Christian believes that for themselves certain things are wrong then for them they are wrong and we should have a sense of right and wrong.

I am not advocating for any kind of antinomianism.

The ideas of antinomianism had been present in the early church, and some Gnostic heretics believed that freedom from law meant freedom for license.

However, when a Christian starts to hold a legalistic standard on another fellow believer then that is in itself deadly and wrong. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts His people.

If the Holy Spirit has not convicted someone of something then for that person that act is fine as long as it does not contradict Scripture.

Now, it is time to talk about my points. 

It Destroys Our Joy 

So many times believers who are trying to hold to some kind of strict, moralistic standard their joy seems to slowly disappear. It makes sense because when you are busy keeping yourself from doing anything fun, out of a sense of moral duty, you will end feeling like you are missing out on something.

That emptiness will cause you to lose your joy. 

It Destroys Our Resolve 

Legalistic people may appear like they are walking the straight and narrow, and they may for awhile, but one can only follow legalism for so long until our sin nature tears us down. You may think you’re doing just fine by keeping yourself away from Rated R movies until one day a scantily clad woman walks by your window. All of sudden, you are drooling all over yourself as you are staring at her for ten minutes!

When this sort of thing happens for awhile, eventually you get tired of fighting to “keep yourself pure” and you just start giving in to your desires. If you do not believe me, please check out all the studies that show what happens to young adults when they grow up in strict, legalistic homes and then finally have their first sip of alcohol. The result is that they usually end up going wild. 

It Destroys Our Hope

After our resolve has been broken, we tend to feel an intense shame over what we have done for having ruined our lives. This shame sometimes has caused people to commit suicide.

For other people, this shame has led to many other equally destructive acts. 


I hope that you can now see how deadly moralism truly is. Maybe next time you hear someone being moralistic you will remember this blog. We need to adamantly oppose any kind of moralistic tendencies. This dangerous ideology is hurting so many brothers and sisters in Christ.

The only way to fight against this ideology is to remember and preach the pure unadulterated gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we tell people the truth about how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus truly saves people not only from their sins but also from legalism, it should eliminate any kind of moralism in people. It is only then that we can truly live our lives as the people of God we were called to be. 

Thank you for reading my blog and may the true grace of the Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you all. 

-David Lee Chu Sarchet 
Christian Mental Health Advocate 

Check Out The Christ-Centered Mental Health Ministry

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