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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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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