Pharisees: the Black Hats

The good guys always win.

Judging individuals is wrong. No new news, but what about the Pharisees? Can we judge them? Are we under a disclaimer? We know they were wrong on many levels. They had perfected their version of Judaism, complicated the law, rejected Jesus, and crucified Him. Each time we read about the Pharisees we, without thinking know they are the bad guys; the Black Hats. Does this hurt us to judge them? Are we in  violation of the Law of Love?

When we read the scripture, specifically any interaction the Pharisees have with Jesus, we read as an innocent third party. We see clearly where they failed to understand and act. What would happen if we quit condemning them? Would our eye be without plank? What if we placed ourselves in their shoes, as if Jesus were speaking to us? I think, many times we would find ourselves condemned with them.
Matt 23:23-24 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. NIV
In many positive ways we are like the Pharisees. We have the right Book, God and religion. We endeavor to do well abiding by the principles. We desire to fit into the religious institutions by saying and believing the right things. We even work to get the correct wording of doctrines. At times we are very meticulous.
Put simply, they did the religion. If asked (which happened more than once) how to get to heaven they responded correctly. But that wasn’t the problem. Yes, they fit well into the religious community and gave the correct answers. However, the problem was they didn’t love as Jesus outlines in the Sermon on the Mount and Matt 25 (unto the least of these).
A young man, newly a Christian and also a new acquaintance of mine, saw a lonely attractive 15 yr old girl walking a country road by herself late at night. He hesitated to stop and help because of the obvious awkwardness of him, a young male and her, a young female. He wanted to help but didn’t want to frighten her. Fortunately, he had his toddler daughter in the car with him, which he thought might help. He picked her up and it turned out they had previously met at a recovery class.
He found she had been kicked out of the house and had nowhere to go. He knew he couldn’t take her to his house since he was single and lived alone. So he called the best Christians he knew. He requested her a place to stay the night. They refused. Instead, they gave my name and number. As a side note they think it is my ministry to help people, because I say yes to needs. I’m not joking, that is what they think: It is my ministry. Very bazaar!
Unannounced, after 10 at night he arrived at my house. She had no clothes or undergarments so we took her to Wal-Mart. That night she stayed with us.
Before you judge the people who refused, know this, they are fine active Christians. I think they are some of the best in the community. But what is the disconnect? What excuse would justify not taking her in?
These Christians are not unique, they certainly do not see themselves lacking love for people or God, but neither did the Pharisees. 
Lest you think this story is about me, it is simply a comparison and contrast that is uncomfortable. It is a contrast in Christian philosophies of love. I know these Christians and they are reflective of the predominant attitudes of the Church at large.
The approach we need is twofold. Make ourselves available to help and say yes. Be where people are who need help and make sure everyone knows you are a “company man”: a ”yes” man. Therefore, when the opportunity arises take action.
The Pharisee is no different than most of us. We aren’t available and we pick and chose who and how we will help. This is not being the Neighbor to the one in need. This does not fulfill the Law of Love.
By the way, It isn’t that heroic to help people.
It is the most basic element of being human: even more. a lover of God. If we want to be the White Hats we must act.

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