The Pharisee In Me

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”… He straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”… At this, those who heard began to go away… until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:4-11)

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

I’ve been so overwhelmed by everything that happened with my friends that I desperately needed to take some time alone to pray about how to handle the situation.  The Lord brought the preceding verses to my mind.  It really made me take stock of myself, my own behavior… and my own heart.  Who am I to judge?  Am I in the position to cast that stone?  Are my own eyes clear enough to see the speck in another’s?  Most certainly not!  But does that relieve me of the moral obligation to speak the truth and bring sin in to the light?  No, it doesn’t!  What it does, is force me seriously consider the way I go about doing it.  What is my motivation for “convicting” others?  Is it just for the sake of being right? Is it purely because I feel I’ve been wronged in the situation?  Or, is it because merely the existence of sin appalls me?  I don’t ever want to glorify anyone’s sin, but nor do I desire to use it for the sake of my own agenda.  Sin is sin, and it needs to be revealed, but when we “speak the truth” we often forget that we are called to do it in love.  I need to call these friends out on what they did, to hold them accountable for their actions.  But it must be done as a friend who cares and is concerned for their spiritual well-being, not as a high and mighty one pouring out judgement on them.  I am not above any form of sinful behavior, my “heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9a).  My mind is often full of wicked thoughts, my heart desires sinful thing, and I act on those things more frequently than I like to admit.  I am definitely not one without sin.

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