You Might be a Pharisee…
If you often communicate to prove you are right and they are wrong, you might be a Pharisee.
Our Christian communication must be rooted in a sincere desire to reconcile people who have lost their way. The goal of our communication should be to lead people out of the darkness and into the light, to bring life to those who are dead, to bring freedom to those who are captive. The goal of Christian communication is not to be right, but to be reconciling.
If you often communicate truth before people know you actually love them, you might be a Pharisee.
Truth without love is no longer God’s truth. When love becomes a secondary value, it ceases being love. If you want to reach someone’s heart with the Gospel, then you need to care about the heart you are trying to reach. You must show that you care before you correct. When you care, you will communicate correction from a place of compassion. If you don’t start and end with love, you’re on the wrong path.
If your first or only interaction with people is frequently negative, you might be a Pharisee.
There are some individuals that you will only interact with once in your lifetime. Your paths will only cross for a brief moment and you will never see each other again this side of eternity. In light of this reality, what do you want your one interaction to look like? Will you use this opportunity to bring hope, love, grace and forgiveness to a brother or sister made in the image of God? Or will you use this one time interaction to tear down, rant, judge and complain? Think about the emails you’ve sent, your Facebook posts, your comment section replies and your clever tweets. Think about how you behaved in the check out line or with the customer service representative. Do you value your one time interactions with strangers? What is the first and most important thing you want every person to know about you and your view of life? What we do first and foremost says much about what we truly value.
If you seldom apologize or examine your own faults, you might be a Pharisee.
A better understanding of God’s grace, love and forgiveness will lead to a greater willingness to apologize. When we clearly understand the depths of God’s love for us and others, we are quick to admit to our failings and faults. We apologize not to beat ourselves up, but to set our relationships free. Instead of justifying, defending and avoiding our failings, we are quick to recognize behavior that is less than worthy! Pharisees refuse to apologize without justifying their behavior. The cross of Christ has given us permission to sincerely demonstrate our freedom through apologizing.
If you only associate with people who agree with your theological convictions and political ideology, you might be a Pharisee.
Jesus hung out with thieves, liars, prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners. In light of Jesus’ example, we can at least associate with someone who votes differently than us. When you communicate, do you pay attention to the diversity of opinions in the room, or do your just words chase people away? Could a democrat and a republican both be built up by your Facebook or twitter feed?
If you spend more time assessing than creating, you might be a Pharisee.
The world has enough critics; creators are needed. Pharisees sit around and complain about a world they’ve abandoned. Reformers speak for the purpose of transforming the world. For every word of criticism, there must also be words that bring solutions to the problems we are addressing. Anyone can complain about someone else’s plan. There is nothing noble in finding fault. However, to contend for a better way, to work toward a better future, that is a truly worthy cause.
If you read every one of these statements thinking about someone other than yourself, you might be a Pharisee….
Looks like I’ve got room to grow.