A Pharisee. Anyone who ever attended Sunday school will be familiar with the term. Pharisees were the religious folk who stirred up trouble for Jesus everywhere He turned, criticizing Him, judging Him, and hurling accusations which played a part in His death. Only just recently I realized on a minor scale I behaved like a Pharisee.
Let me explain.
This December marks the one-year anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Since as long as I could remember my grandfather, who we’d respectively called Big Sam, always had a beer in his hand. Big Sam drank like a parched camel in the Sahara, but to his honor, I’ve never seen him drunk. The man also cussed. I repeated the same language and had my mouth washed out with soap. Believe me, Irish Spring coating your tongue isn’t delightful. Anyways, I judged Big Sam. He drank and he cussed, two things my Christian heart couldn’t condone.
Yes, I loved him. He had a fabulous sense of humor and an addicting laugh. I enjoyed his company, but in the corners of my heart- I judged, criticized. I pointed my self-righteous finger. It wasn’t until his funeral that I realized how off-base I was.
I was sitting in my chair when a man I never seen before stood to offer respectful words about Big Sam. His wrinkled face boasted a tender smile as he spoke of a man who quit his well-paying mill job enduring a ginormous pay-cut in order to start a center that helps the mentally-challenged. My jaw went slack. Then the older gentlemen proceeded to speak how Big Sam devoted years and years working with special needs adults, helping them reach their full potential. This center offered jobs to people whom society wouldn’t give a second glance to. This program encouraged the misfits, the downcast, and the blessed souls who needed a heart to believe in them. An organization my grandfather risked his income on starting. My heart grieved. He was more righteous than I had thought. Why hadn’t anyone told me his occupation before he retired? How come I never asked? Why did I have to learn about this at his funeral?
So many questions and regrets flooded my soul, swirling around until it reached my eyes in the form of tears.
I was so quick to judge. To dismiss him on his appearance and not taking the time to dig deep. He might have sipped Iron City, but he also changed lives.
Just like the Pharisees- they saw Jesus mingling with sinners and fishermen, but didn’t take in Him healing the sick, raising the dead, changing the world.
If I could stress one thing, friend, it’s this—take the time to look deep before you judge. Don’t be swayed by lewd language or surface issues, but the deep beliefs that govern the individual.