Matthew 23:27-28 What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs- beautiful on the outside and dead on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity.. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Don't we see this all the time!! It is so sad that we do. Just this week I saw a post about a preacher that was eating out in a restaurant. He was a part of a large party and was charged 18% for his tip on his bill. He wrote on that bill "I only give God 10%" and put a 0 where the tip charge was suppose to be. The story went on to so that the girl posted a picture of this on the Internet, there was a picture. The preacher complained and the girl that was probably only making barely enough to feed her family lost her job. Where did a preacher loose site of the fact that when we give to others, in love, we are giving to God? As a Christian, I was angered by this mans actions, saddened by them. Aware that his action may be there very action that kept that girl from ever attending church. On top of that he seemed to be following the letter of the law and missing the intent of the law all together.
We can point our fingers at this man.. or we can learn from this story. Learning from the story is what will clean the inside of our souls then without even trying what people see on the outside will be crystal and shinny and perfect looking. What needs to drive us is not what people think of us, but instead God's love. Are we acting in love? Are we reacting in love? Are our motives about loving God and loving others or are our motives about people thinking we love God.
That preacher was saying to the waitress, "I love God more than I love you!!" and he felt all puffed up and proud that he could say that. But if his heart had been in the right place he would have loved that waitress because He loved God. He would have taken time to understand that if she didn't get a tip that she was making only $3:15 an hour without tips. And he would have blessed her day with a little extra.
I stop and think now, "How in my life can I be a blessing to people?" and ask myself, "How in my life am I acting like the Pharisees?" That can be hard to look at honestly...but if we are God loving, God fearing people it is a question that we must ask ourselves... something that we should ask God to point our in our lives. It is not only important to our own well being and spiritual health. It is important to those people around us that are tinkering on the edge of salvation and can be pushed one way are pulled toward God. When we are clean from the inside out... loving from the inside out then we are like a magnet to those people standing on the edge and our kindness will pull them toward God.