Because of the way their theology emphasizes the smallest of points and focuses on appearances, rather than substance, it's easy for Pharisees to become "single-issue" persons. Their entire faith can seemingly be boiled down to what they believe about this or that particular thing, the way that the Pharisees in the Bible were upset that Jesus's disciples did not wash their hands properly before eating, as if that was going to be what condemned them to eternal hellfire.
Recently, a friend shared a post on Facebook that illustrates this point very well. It said something to the effect of, "A pastor cannot support abortion, homosexuality, transgenderism, and same-sex marriage and preach the Gospel of Christ." By extension, I know that this friend also meant "a Christian" cannot do the same.
And of course, we're seeing this topic come up in the ongoing election, especially at the Presidential level. I have heard numerous persons within the church say they don't approve of x,y,z about Donald Trump, but they 'can't' vote for Joe Biden because of his views on abortion.
We also see it reflected in the church, when we seem to preach a message that condemns homosexuality (or anything else) as the sin above all sins and don't take the same hard stance on all the other abominations unto the Lord that are going on within our walls.
It's just too easy for us to become single-issue Christians, having this one-dimensional faith that - in literally all of these cases when we talk about the faith of a Pharisee - are based entirely on something we are against.
Oh, so close.
The truth is that we're supposed to be single-issue Christians. We're supposed to be persons of faith who base our entire belief, and thus, life, system on one thing. But it's not something we're against; it's something we're for. It's something we're for because we are beneficiaries of it ourselves: we're supposed to base our faith on God's love.
Even in the Old Testament when the ritual sacrifices were still in effect, God says that He never really wanted our sacrifices. He's more interested in our hearts. He's more interested in justice and mercy and forgiveness and in our living together the way that He's called us to live together. He's far more interested in the ways that we love - that we love Him and that we love one another - than literally anything else we're doing with our lives.
So to my friend who posted the meme about what we can't support and still have our faith, the reply is pretty simple:
A pastor, a Christian, cannot preach the Gospel of Christ without loving the homosexual, the transgendered, the person who has had an abortion, and so on." We cannot preach Christ without love.
That was the sin of the Pharisees. There was no love in their message. There was no grace in their law. They were so focused on the smallest things and the little pet projects they'd picked out of the Scriptures that they could no longer see the people of God for the commandments of Him, when the greatest commandment of all has always been...don't cloud your vision. Don't forget to see one another, to truly see one another, and to truly see Me.
Our faith was never meant to be built on what we're against, but what we're for...and Who is for us. So let us be a people of love above all else, the way that God has called us. Otherwise, we're nothing more than Pharisees.
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