Want to produce a good Pharisee? Convince him to quit sinning without coming to Jesus. It’s all about the relationship.
10 For wisdom [the Holy Spirit] will enter your heart
And knowledge [the Holy Spirit] will be pleasant to your soul;
11 Discretion [the Holy Spirit] will guard you,
Understanding [the Holy Spirit] will watch over you,
Want to cause an argument or fight? Just point out someone’s errors, faults–or sins. It’s not only rude, it’s counter-productive to the cause of Jesus. Let’s walk through a scenario:
We have a friend who has “issues.” We confront him with his sin and he agrees to change his ways. Congratulations! We have just won him over to works-based religion. We have just done what Jesus told us NOT to do,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:15).
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matthew 23:25-26).
Jesus forgives sin, both big and small, so we don’t have to worry about a person’s sin problem (regardless of how detestable it is to us or how offended we are by it). If we teach a religious lifestyle–which is exactly what we teach when we condemn others for the sin in their lives–we have not shown the most important thing about Christ, which is His love and His desire to have a personal, ongoing relationship with them. Jesus gives a great illustration,
3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5
What I get out of this passage is that we are responsible for the sin in our lives. Period. It is the Spirit of God who reveals to people the sin that is destroying them. We are not to be another person’s “Holy Spirit.” Instead, let’s talk up our relationship with Christ. When they see our love for the Lord and for others, they will hopefully want what we have. Until they do, we pray for them, show them the love of Christ, and give a defense for the hope we have in Him.
This defense looks like this:
“All I know is this:
I was one way and now I am completely different,
and the thing that happened in between was Him.”
Mary Magdalene-The Chosen, Episode 2
It is our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that will attract people to Christ. Once they have been touched by a Christ-Follower with one of these attributes, the Holy Spirit will use that encounter to convict their hearts of the very sin that we used to condemn. But, until a person has a relationship with Jesus, he will not understand true repentance. All we produce is “a good Pharisee.”
So, let’s get off our high-horses and quit condemning people for sinning. It’s what sinners do, and until they come to Christ, they really have no reason to change. Be the bridge between Christ and sinners.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10
Abba, thank You for teaching me to quit judging others and condemning them for their sin, but to love them as You love them, and to show compassion on them (even when they make it difficult…). It’s what You did for me. May I “pay it forward,” Lord. Amen.