Pharisees on Facebook
by Ryan Duncan
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
I have a friend who loves starting debates. Every once in awhile, he'll post an article or question on his Facebook page, then send out a request asking people to share their thoughts. These questions can cover every topic from politics to pop-culture, and typically generate good discussion. There was one post however, where things got pretty grim. It all started when my friend posted an article about a group of Christians who went to a Gay Pride parade holding signs that read "We’re sorry for how the Church has treated you." Personally, I was pretty touched at the article, but as you might expect on such a hot button issue, not everyone felt the same way.
It didn’t take long before the whole discussion exploded into a big honking argument and I remember leaving the thread in disgust, both by what others had written and how I had responded. The most unnerving part however, happened three days later when I picked up my Bible and read a passage where the Pharisees interrogated a man Jesus had just healed.
Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from." The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out. – John 9:26-34
We like to think we are different from the Pharisees, but the truth is we're not. The Pharisees were the religious elite of the day, but they were so full of pride at their own self-righteousness, they could not even see the work of Christ when it was literally standing right in front of them. Instead, they argued and hurled insults at their enemy, a man who had done them no harm at all. I hate to say it, but that sounds a lot like me sometimes.
As Christians, we must remember that everything we say and everything we do reflects the presence of God in our lives. If we respond to others with cruelty, should we be surprised when their perception of Jesus is twisted? But if we respond in love, than perhaps they’ll begin to understand how Christ sees them. So ask yourself, how does the world see Christ when they look at you?
Intersecting Faith and Life: Are you loving others the way Christ has loved you? Consider your actions.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."