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Agape Christian Counselling, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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George Hartwell M.Sc.


Legalism, Depression and Religious Performance

Legalism and Religious Performance - The struggle

Legalism and religious performance haunted Ken. Over the years legalism and religious performance put him in deep depression. He writes: "Granted, medications helped me to cope somewhat, but I found that masking "the source" of my  emotional stresses would  only allow me to cope with the fight within, to a  degree.  So, I determined to  get George's help through his many years of experience so that I could understand the "sources" and deal with them thus, gain a  freedom which would set me on a path of healing. George is helping me to reach the  goal of being set free from legalism and all that goes with being chained within!"

Legalism and Religious Performance - The Big Picture

Legalism and religious performance are manifestations of the persistent pattern of Performance Orientation. Our religious commitment gets interpreted within the web of misbeliefs of our Performance Orientation.
Religion and religious legalism can heighten our People Pleasing Performance Orientation. Now instead of trying to please we are trying to please God and earn His love. That is how we think within the web of Performance Orientation Beliefs.

Legalism and Performance Orientation

Legalism and religious performance grows out of the childhood character pattern of being a good child, being nice, trying to please or to be perfect. One core belief is that such performance will gain us a secure place in our parent's hearts and the love we need. If we just act good, then we will be loved. Religious legalism and religious performance are a subset of the bigger family of Performance Orientation.

Legalism, Religious Performance and Depression

Depression is associated both with religious legalism and with the larger family of life patterns in Performance Orientation. Why depression? Depression is a natural outcome of another set of core beliefs of Performance Orientation. There is the belief:

These painful beliefs are associated with feelings of depression and despair.

Freedom from Legalism and Religious Performance

Revelation - God's very word spoken to me - is what sets us free. God's word, received in Listening Prayer Therapy, counteracts the beliefs - the painful beliefs that poison the spirit with depression. Remove these poison arrows and toxic depression clears up.

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