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Day 20

Day 20

Author: Kristin Nelson
July 03, 2020


Matthew 23:27-28 NIV

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

When I was in college, I used to read the Bible from the perspective of the disciples. I was at the right hand of Jesus, I was against the Pharisees and I always knew the correct answer. As I have grown older and deepened in my faith, I learned to read the Bible from the perspective of a Pharisee. From that perspective, I read from a Bible that highlights ways I don't respond to Jesus as a disciple, but rather as someone full of hypocrisy and in need of grace. Rather than assume I have all the answers, I'm forced to reflect on how much I don't live like Christ and make changes.  

To the people of biblical times, the Pharisees look pretty good on the outside with their surface-level accomplishments and gold stars. They seem to have it all together and do it with grace. Jesus states the opposite in Matthew 28, “…on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

Now why would anyone choose to take the perspective of the Pharisees over that of the disciples? That doesn't sound helpful, it sounds horrific. We want to be a disciple. But that is how I personally choose to grow. If I am constantly checking in with God and asking what my motives are, I am able to make choices that better the Kingdom. Seeing myself as a Pharisee gives me many opportunities to see where my heart is at and respond in humility. From there I am able to grow in my trust of Jesus and who He says I am, slowly seeing actual characteristics of a true disciple. 

I have been putting much thought into hypocrisy and how it connects to the Black Lives Matter movement and the racism in and around me. Am I truly acting on all the things I say I will? I want to actually be a part of peace and justice, not just say the right words. I want to be a disciple of the God of justice and learn to act like He would, and rather than assume I'm doing that. I choose to assume I'm a Pharisee and seek to align my words and actions in humility. It takes more thought and reflection to check in with my values and motives rather than assume I am ‘in the right’. But through that thought and reflection, I am not settling for another potentially hypocritical thought but hopefully cultivating justice.

I am not saying this to make myself feel guilty or to shame myself or others. I'd rather we all start by assuming we have much more to learn about being a true disciple than have the arrogance to think we can create our own version of righteousness.  I won’t always get it right, but I think with an open heart and a willingness to learn, I can work on cleaning out those bones of the dead. 




Dear God, thank you for loving us even when we don't get it right. Thank you for your patience when our actions don't match our words. Please help me to remember to come to you first. Help me to clearly see when my choices are not bettering the Kingdom. Be with my sisters and brothers who have lost loved ones during this time. Wrap your arms around their friends and families. Help us all to make better choices out of love. Amen.


Kristin Nelson


South Park Church
1330 S. Courtland Avenue | Park Ridge, IL 60068 | 847.825.5507