Monday, April 21, 2014

Seeing Myself As a Recovering Pharisee

As I've gotten older and seen that life -- our family in particular -- didn't quite turn out like I thought it would -- our family is actually better than I could have ever imagined --, I begin to realize what a Pharisee I have been. This was made crystal clear to me as I read Os Guinness' book, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life. In it he says,

...[C]alling reminds us that, recognizing all the different stages people are at, there are many more who are followers of Jesus and on the Way than we realize. To forget this and insist that everyone be as we are, at the same stage and with the same stories as ours, is to be a Christian Pharisee. For the Gospels tell us it was the Pharisees who were shocked at those following Jesus...Exclusiveness and exclusion always result from making a false idol of purity. Pharisaism, in fact, is the result of a perverted passion for theological purity just as ethnic cleansing is for racial purity.[1]

You can interpret this any way you want for yourself, but for me, it harks back to the days when we were searching for a "safe" church in which to raise our children.

Yes, there were bad influences in some churches we visited. Yes, there were some differences in standards of modesty, music, and entertainment. Yes, there were some who used other Bible versions than we did.

But, was it really a godly spirit for us to push some away and keep ourselves away because they didn't line up perfectly with what we wanted to teach our children?

Looking back on it all, I see we were so wrong about so many things.

I hope to share more as I am led.

[1] Os Guinness, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life  (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 108. He refers to Mark 2:15 to give an illustration of the types of people who followed Christ; namely, publicans (tax collectors) and sinners.