Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Right Kind of Picture


October 14, 2008 IOW

“A pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.” by A.W.Tozer


Pharisees were people who were dedicated to the strict observance of the Mosaic Law. The name comes from the Hebrew word Perushim meaning, “those separated” from sinners and lawbreakers. They were a party among the Jews that laid great stress upon the observance of the rites and ceremonies. Making a pretense of superior holiness as they separated themselves from the common people. They were believers in the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and the existence of angels and spirits. In Christ’s day the Pharisees had degenerated into self-righteous, hypocritical religionists.

Interesting! Christ said it himself that unless our righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law we will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). Ouch! Like the disciples we are warned to watch out for the yeast of Pharisees or their teachings.

A Pharisee, as illustrated in this quote, is someone who doesn’t want to look inward and spends all their time and energy looking down on others. Definitely people who have degenerated into self-righteousness with a charade of superior holiness and goodness that separates themselves from the common men. People harder on others than on themselves as they find it difficult to be humble.

Enough of that picture let’s get on to the picture we need to see of a spiritual man and where they ought to be. They are people who are easy on others and hard on themselves. Unfortunately that is not the picture those outside the church often choose to see. They think Christians are stuck up people with a “holier than thou” attitude who are prejudice against anything that doesn’t go along with what their “Bible says” with the exception of “love thy neighbor as thyself.” A picture of choice they paint to bring God’s people down to where they think they should be.

We need to be careful that indeed we are not being a Pharisee type of person. It’s up to us to do as Jesus told the disciples to do and watch out for those kinds of teachings. We can’t stop those on the outside from painting a wrong image. They did it to Jesus when He was here and still do today. The issue is, at the end of the day when the paint has dried, the paintbrush that painted bad characteristics for others to see shouldn’t be in our hand.

That’s where we as Christians should become hard on ourselves. Learning the art of self-examination and discipline with the ability to correct what is wrong. It is in this area we find a big need for balance. Too often we become so hard on ourselves that Satan gets a foothold in the action to bring us down instead of up. He stands also at the end of the other extreme where Christians don’t feel the need to be hard on themselves because they are saved by grace. They have no fear of the consequences of their choices since they are on the “forgiven” list. Oppss doesn’t that sound a little Pharisee-ish? Out of balance, out of touch from where we need to be.

What we need is Jesus. We need Him to help us get our balance in these areas. Mastering the ability to be hard enough on ourselves that it does us more good than harm. Easy enough on others to where they benefit from it. Drawing them closer to Christ instead of further in to sin with no fear of consequences.

We need Jesus to be in charge of the paint can and brushes. The ones used to paint the picture of Christ and Heaven that the world needs to see. Not an abstract picture that leaves the meaning of the image up to those looking. Or a self-portrait like the Pharisees always worked on but a portrait of Christ in us and through us! Indeed the right kind of picture.


Copyright 2008 Karen J. Gillett @ Pencil Marks and Recipes Publishing

9 comments:

Esthermay Bentley-Goossen said...

I like the picture of the balancing dude! :-)
You're right - we need a balance. And discernment needs to be in the mix. There is definitely a very smudged line between judgment and discernment in the Church today. Great Post, Friend!
Happy InOtherWordsTuesday!
-esthermay

Lynnette Kraft said...

"We need Him to help us get our balance in these areas. Mastering the ability to be hard enough on ourselves that it does us more good than harm. Easy enough on others to where they benefit from it. Drawing them closer to Christ instead of further in to sin with no fear of consequences."

Yes, that is true. A balance is important. And yet, drawing closer to Christ IS the answer.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed spending time on your blog today. :)
Lynnette

Patricia said...

"We need Jesus to be in charge of the paint can and brushes."

I love your imagery here, Karen. It is so important that the picture others sees is that of Christ in us, not just us in our flawed state--sometimes being Christ-like and other times being pharisee-like. He is the only One to bring balance.

Great post!

Michelle Bentham said...

Great Word, Karen. The picture of finding the balance between looking inward and looking outward at sin and its influence is a great object lesson.

Thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog.

Blessings.

MiPa said...

Great post! I love the word pictures. Helps this visual learner! Thank you for sharing.

Denise said...

Awesome post sweetie.

Ava Semerau said...

Fabulous imagery- "at the end of the day when the paint has dried, the paintbrush that painted bad characteristics for others to see shouldn’t be in our hand."

We do have an accountability to share Christ by our example - not as holy rollers, but as people who love others unconditionally.

Thanks for the post.

AVA <><

Laurie Ann said...

The beauty of balance is that Christ is willing to help us.

I loved your post! I found myself applauding it!

Power Up Love said...

This is a great post. What's a bit humorous is that just this morning I was asking myself “what’s a Pharisee?” I was also thinking this morning that I’m a good Christian, but then I thought, “A good Christian compared to who?” If I was to compare myself to Paul in the Bible I’m a horrible Christian, and I’ve got a long way to go and a lot to learn.