My pastor had a little ditty the other day that made me sit up and pay attention.
He was talking about the Pharisees and how they missed the Kingdom of God. I’ve heard that so much over the years, so I had largely tuned out. The Pharisees are our favorite punching bags in the 21st century American church; mention the Pharisees, how much they loved religion and how that’s bad, and you’ve got people nodding in fervent and solemn agreement. I mean, we easy going California souls know soooo much better than that. We’re all about relationship, not religion, dude!
Anyway, he was talking about the parable in the gospels where a sinner is remorseful over his sin (“beating his breast” before God and pleading for mercy), and the Pharisee prays “thank you Lord that I’m not like that guy!” then my pastor said:
You wanna know the best way to become a Pharisee? Thank God that you’re not a Pharisee.
Nailed it, right there. Smugness is sneaky like that, ain’t it? Not that the Pharisees didn’t deserve some critique–they did miss the boat, big time–but we today love, love, love to subtly pat ourselves on the back by pointing the finger at them. Many today pretend to be non-judgmental and open minded, but they’re not. They judge the judging, moralize against moralizing, preach against preaching, proselytyze against proselytyzing.
What a joke. The “don’t judge lest ye be judged” crew is the most intolerant bunch you’ll find (according to their own definition).
I’m just waiting for the day when I hear someone say this:
Yeah, I was judging. So what?
It is unavoidable. The question is: is it based upon truth and done in the spirit of love?
The Pharisees missed that, yes. I just wish folks would admit that and cut out the sanctimonious blatherskeit about judging.