The Pharisees were not evil people. They wanted to fulfill the law. In their hearts, I believe, they really thought they were obeying and defending God. Saul, as he was dragging people out of their homes and consenting to their deaths, really believed he was doing the right thing. He really believed He was defending the cause of God.
Now, of course, we know most of the Pharisees in their zeal to obey God, missed the heart of God, which is love.
Today, many people will tell you that God is on their side. Many would argue that Jesus would be of a member their political party, or their denomination. And just like the Pharisees, in our zeal to obey God, I wonder if we have missed the heart of God?
Jesus loved people into the truth.
If we want to avoid becoming a Pharisee, allow Jesus to be our example. Jesus welcomed sinners and Pharisees. After an encounter with Jesus, People felt loved and accepted. They left empowered to “go and sin no more.”
We must ask ourselves, “Is that the way people feel after an encounter with me or after they have read my Facebook post or meme?”
If our message is such, sinners are not drawn to us than our behavior may be Pharisaical. If our message is one that does not lead others to freedom, than our behavior may be Pharisaical.
I’m not here to judge you this morning. I am sure, like the Pharisees, we all want to do God’s will. But in our zeal, let’s not cultivate a Pharisaical heart – more concerned with “laws” than love or more concerned with “political correctness” than Truth.
Let us be driven more by love than law,
Let us promote the well being of all rather than “just us”,
Let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth rather than cling to traditions and political parties,
Let us seek to be kind rather than right,
Let us show compassion rather than comparison,
Let us strive to be more like the Good Samaritan rather than the good “Church Attendee”,
Let us be motivated more by love than fear.
In summary, to avoid a Pharisaical heart, do what Jesus did.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;”
Romans 12:9-10 NKJV