Avoiding Careless Imitation
Following practices without caring what they mean can cause people to go against their purposes.
For Christians thinking about how to live a more authentic Christian life, it can be helpful to think more deeply about the purposes of Christian practices.
For Christians thinking about how to live a more authentic Christian life, it can be helpful to think more deeply about the purposes of Christian practices. Following certain practices half-heartedly and only because one was brought up in that way of thinking can prevent a person from following those practices meaningfully and can even cause them to go against the real purposes of those practices. For example, a Christian who simply tries to imitate Christian practices without thinking about their purposes may say that someone should be forgiven and freed from any consequences for the sake of compassion when that person may be likely to harm other people again.
Having compassion for people and forgiving them comes from love and an understanding of how and why people make mistakes. However, always forgiving people without ever seeing a need for consequences would indicate that it isn't really understood what is at the heart of forgiveness and compassion. This is because getting rid of consequences often leads to people being mistreated.
Likewise, a person who thinks they are expected to support a consequence in another circumstance may not recognize that an accused person should really be let off the hook. Punishing someone who doesn't really deserve it and wouldn't likely commit the same problem again can be a result of following a practice without really understanding it or caring to understand it. Once again, this is why imitating practices without caring or thinking about their purposes can even cause someone to go against the purposes of their practices.