Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Pharisaical by Websterster defininition means "marked by hypocritical censorious self-righteousness."

As I was talking to my wife last night I realized how often we become like the Pharisees.  We spend our life going to church, working on our "relationship" with God, trying to do all the right things, just so we can become "righteous."  Unfortunantly our works are not our ticket into Heaven. They don't earn us anything. Rather, they should be an expression of our love for God.

A few days ago I heard someone say that their pursuing a relationship with God was the only thing that mattered and that they didn’t need to worry about other relationships.  I was extremly taken back by this, because it goes against everything I believe.  For me, it goes against the very core of everything God has called us to be.  On the other hand, I can see where they they could get that idea, because a lot of churches teach exactly that.
I’ve been in churches that teach this whether they think they do or not.  Many churches teach it just by actions alone.  They teach that your ticket to heaven is doing the right things and staying away from the wrong things.  They teach that everything has to do with a oneself rather than loving others the same way we love ourselves.  Sure their words might say that they care about people, but really once the doors are closed, many in the congregation don’t speak for another week.

I understand where they are coming from and admit I have been there myself.  The only problem is Jesus, didn’t say “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, Leave your neighbor alone.’” Rather he said 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

Unfortunately for many of us, we have separated the two.  This reminds me of Matthew 25:31-46
I read this and I can’t help but think that many of us have become just like those Christ spoke against.  These people were often people who thought of themselves as very religious.  They openly confessed to what they were doing to follow God.  They would strive to follow His commands, do the things they thought they should be doing, but the whole time was only focused on themselves.  They would see people around them and ignore the needs that they could have met.  They went about their own business doing for themselves and neglecting all their “neighbors.”

 I can’t help but think our churches have made their way back to the time when taking care of yourself was considered enough.  We miss building relationships, helping each other, and understanding we are not called to be isolationists. 

Now some of this might sound like it doesn't really go together or that I am saying loving people is part of earning your rightousness.  I'm not.  Rather, I have come to believe in what is known as tri-polar spirituallity.  The easist way to explain it is that I have my relationship with God and I have my relationship with others. Each relationship is only as strong as the other relationship.  If I want a strong relatinship with God, I have to have a strong relationship with others. If I want to love others, I have to truly love God. 

Want to take it a step further?  I also believe that our relationship with God is only as strong as our love for our enemy....but that is another post altogether.

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