My name is Kevin and I am a Pharisee. I mentioned in a previous post that I am a recovering Pharisee! I thank God for that! I used to judge people based on their lifestyle, looks, $$, the way they talked and other ways. God has a way of changing you. I used to condemn “sinners” for all of their mistakes and sins while patting myself on the back for what an awesome man of God I was. After all, I didn’t drink, smoke, have sex or any other of the “big” sins! My dad pointed out to me that I was a spiritual snob. It took me months of thought on his rebuking to realize how right he was.
My best friend in high school who was active in our church with me and we were close. We were discipled together and both had paper routes. We hung out all of the time. He was a great friend. In Febuary of my senior year in high school, he flew into the school parking lot and slammed on the breaks. He told me to get in his car and screamed out of the parking lot. He told me that his girlfriend was pregnant and he wanted me to be the best man in his wedding (2 weeks later). Had this been anyone else I would have looked down on him and pointed fingers at what a sinner he was. But this was Tommy, my best friend. I really cared about him. Sure he had made a mistake, but what he needed was a friend. My parents were very supportive and allowed me to be the best man in his wedding and I stood beside him in more ways than just the wedding. Unfortunately, I was a member of a church full of Pharisees.
Like I said I was the chief of them up until Tommy’s crisis. I could not believe how ugly our church treated Tommy. In his time of need, they, we dropped the ball. We could have reached out to Tommy and Jane but the church turned their back on him. This led to Tommy dropping out of church and 2 years later divorcing Jane (after another child was born). To this day I don’t believe Tommy is living for God. It is because of Pharisees like me.
My name is Kevin and I am a Pharisee. This whole incident changed me! I didn’t change over night. I have a quick tongue and can lash out with the best of them. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit and my wife, I have changed. I look at people as people not numbers. I try to put myself in their shoes and ask, why are they behaving in the manner they are. Why are they sinning? (because I still do!)
Today, I had a great conversation with a young person. They told me they knew they had turned from God. In the past, I might have heaped insults and called them “sinner” and turned my back on them. Believe me, I was told about their exploits by a few people. I had even confronted this person in the past. But, the old saying you can catch more flies with honey applies. I believe the best way to reach people in their sin is not scolding and telling them how bad they are. I believe we are to love them and encourage them. That is what Barnabas did with John Mark. Paul wanted to abandon John Mark and Paul and Barnabas split because of John. But later on because of the encouragement of Barnabas, John Mark became useful to Paul.
We need to confront wayward believers, but not pushing them away so far that we can’t love them. The prodical son’s father didn’t yell and scream at him, he loved him and welcomed him back. That is the legacy I want to leave. I want people to say I am/was an encourager! My name is Kevin and I am a recovering Pharisee