Hello. My name is Mel…
… and I am a recovering Pharisee.
I read an article today passed on by Amy. It was timed way too perfectly and was completely eye opening. I’ve been in a funk for the last 4 or 5 months trying to figure some things out about standards, outward appearance, and judgemental-ism in my Christian walk. This article summed up a lot of what I have been thinking, and pointed out why I’m struggling with it all.
And I realize that for the last 5 or 6 years, maybe longer, maybe forever, I’ve been a pharisee. Pointing out, however silently, the outward sins (or what I considered sins), of those who had chosen different lifestyles than myself.
and they call themselves Christians…
It is natural for people to want boundaries. I can see it in my kids, I can see it in my friends, I can see it in my church family. We want something to measure ourselves by.
Am I a good Christian?
Well, lets see…
We homeschool. We have all these kids. We go to church every Sunday. I wear lots of skirts, and so does the daughter. We have a family Bible study most every night. We don’t allow our teenager to date. Our kids are very obedient. We have a good marriage. We tithe. We don’t have cable or satellite TV. We cook from scratch. Our 3 year old has been memorizing scripture since he was 2. I grind my own wheat and can make a pretty excellent whole grain bread. We don’t celebrate Halloween, we don’t do Santa or that bunny…
Go ahead and stamp my forehead with “success”.
One of the things that characterized the Pharisees was that they created their own standards of holiness related to outward appearance, and then belittled others who didn’t hold to their standards. Jesus spent a lot of time exposing the Pharisees for their shallowness and their self-righteousness judgments, yet, many of us homeschoolers have inadvertently followed the Pharisees’ path — we have overly elevated outward form and we have condescended to those who appear less enlightened.
read the whole article here
I think I might throw up.
Now, the article was specifically written for homeschoolers, but I find this statement to be true of many, many people, not just the homeschooling population. There is so much focus on what we say and do in the conservative Christian circle that our hearts, and the hearts of our children are getting forgotten.
I’m not saying that rules are wrong. Not at all. Don’t miss my point.
We didn’t start living the lifestyle we live because we thought it would be holier, we just wanted a better chance for our children. However, it didn’t take long for me to start judging others who weren’t holding my high standards. I thought they just weren’t there yet. I’d simply made it a higher level of realization than they had. I didn’t recognize that I was thinking this at the time. But looking back, I was – and I liked the feeling of being holier.
How dare I think that I had reached some kind of higher spiritual plane because the TV was off, and I was in a skirt kneading bread dough. And what on earth do skirts and bread have to do with the Christian heart anyway? I’ll tell you.
The decisions we’ve made for our family have, for the most part, been good and we definitely see the benefits of them. However, for anybody to think that they have the corner on modesty, spirituality, and holiness simply because they are lookin’ it on the outside is simply wrong.
And what might this attitude be doing to our children?
It is also possible that they [our children] see the shallowness of our “religion” and are not attracted to it in the least. Christianity is not a system of do’s and don’ts – it is following a wonderful Savior who gave his life for his people. A legalistic faith consisting primarily of “avoid this, wear that, and attend this” is not attractive to most children. Such children grow up full of knowledge and rules, but lack attraction for the Lord Jesus. They may identify themselves with Christ at an early age, but it is possible that the Christianity they learned from us was characterized chiefly by religious rules and doctrines. They will eventually forsake their identification with Christ because they grew up under the weight of religious standards, but lacked the grace and power to carry them out. Many such young people have forsaken “religion,” and still need to find Jesus and the grace of salvation.
The last 4 or 5 months have changed me. I saw somebody I didn’t want to be, but I was her.
I was so her.
I didn’t know where to start, or what to do. But God heard my longings and started a change in me.
And things are different now. Not only am I feeling much less judgemental, but I also feel less of a need to perform, I feel a lesser need for my children to perform. I long for their hearts to belong to Christ and right now that seems to be the only thing that matters to me. I want their outside to be a genuine reflection of the growth of faith on their inside.
I’ve got so much more to say. And I don’t know how to end this post.
I’m rattled and it hurts a little. But it’s good.
And I’ll just leave it at that.
Tagged with: This Life
Filed under: Uncategorized
Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!