Forcing Back My Inner Pharisee

Here’s the thing.

I get how serious sin is.

I can see how bad things are these days, how bad people are, in fact.

Every day, I encounter people who make choices so contrary to God’s plan for their lives, who fall so far short of His standard of holiness, and who deserve, not grace and acceptance from heaven but separation and condemnation –

And that’s before I leave my own house –

That I COULD walk around all the time in a justified snit of righteous indignation.

Even as I look into the mirror, I think that, this person, too, does not deserve a smile or a pass or a cup of water in the desert. She needs to straighten up and fly right. She needs to get things straight with God, to obey, to submit, to keep the faith, to press in, press on, to overcome.

But, then I think about Jesus.

And I think,

If He, the Holy Only Son of the Almighty Father who knew where He came from and where He was going, the Perfect One, the Author of Salvation, the Lamb without Blemish

If HE could walk around earth eating, drinking, and laughing with people without a sour face or a clucking tongue or a raised eyebrow or a scowl

If He could love on the spot those who had yet to receive Him and who, in fact, would reject and condemn Him,

If He could heal and forgive and deliver and impart grace to the thief, the demoniac, the hooker, and the outcast

If He could be full of light, telling stories, playing with children, touching fevered brows,

If He didn’t stop to weave a whip before every evening meal and overturn a table in every sinner’s home

Then, maybe I don’t have to walk around angry all the time either.

Maybe I don’t have to wear disapproval on my face like a monk’s cowl

Maybe I can speak the truth but not act as if I don’t fall under the same sentence as those who hear my words

Maybe I can share a meal with the imperfect and not feel it’s my job to hold up a mirror to their every flaw

Maybe I can impart grace to the undeserving,

Acceptance to the outcast,

Forgiveness to the fallen

Even when I meet her in the mirror

And that can be part of what I do in building His kingdom on earth.

Maybe loving a sinner is not the same as winking at sin and sharing their table is not tantamount to blessing their lifestyle

And maybe it’s even better than yelling in through their window with a rock in my hand.

I don’t know. I’m just trying to figure all this out, too.

There’s all these rules that I know I break but then, there’s Jesus and if I want to gulp Him in like fresh clean air than I can’t put my hands around the throat of someone else who needs to inhale God’s grace to survive.

I don’t want to be “easy on sin;”

I just don’t want to be harder than God.

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    The Conversation

  1. God is hitting me with this topic over and over recently. But why? I’m sure I’ve got my act together and I don’t judge others. I know I’m His voice of Nathan for everyone around me.

    Why does He keep making me read all this Pharisee stuff???


  2. Thank you for the challenge and for writing so clearly about the way Jesus lived with others. Well said.