There was a legalistic strain of Christianity that was pervasive in the South for a long time. It was not real Christianity, but it passed for the real thing. I know that slavery and Jim Crow were not consistent with Christianity, but many people tried to make the connection. This is what happens when you compartmentalize your religion, not letting it into all areas of your life. This legalistic, feudal system of morality was in all areas of life and even seeped into the home as well, putting the family into strata and ranking with the high emperor at the top of the system being the father who was to be indulged and served and given his special place to sit, given the first cut of the food, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, a man coming into his house at the end of the day after having worked very hard in demanding physical labor might need a little extra meat and a little extra kindness to soothe the wounds of the day. Moreover, we should give honor to our leaders who are responsible for good order, welfare, and peace, but this feudal system in the Old South with the husband as “king of the castle” was pure legalism.
There was absolutely no Christian morality in it, and no love of our Christ in it. I know because I lived with that system growing up, and I vowed to do things differently when I raised a family, which I have done with smashing success. No surprise there, though. If you do things God’s way, you end up with so many blessings. God helped me to dare to be different in so many ways in my life, cutting a unique path, so many times going down roads that others tried to divert me from or to warn me away from, but I always followed God, listening intently to that “still, small voice,” which showed me the way so many times through very rocky, dark, and even evil places such as my tour in Iraq. He has literally led me through the “valley of the shadow of death.” I have truly come to understand that verse in the 23d Psalm in light of my experiences in and after my deployment, suffering as I have with the same internal wounds that so many countless of our veterans suffer from, have suffered from throughout history, and continue to suffer from to this day. But God is good, and He is so much bigger than any problem we might face in life.
I pray that you will know Him personally today through His son Jesus, and that you will be guided by Him in your daily life so that you will experience the abundant life that He wants for you.