God’s Thoughts to Me
But I warn you – unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:20, NLT).
The Seven Pharisees
In May 2012 the movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, was released by Universal Pictures. I totally fell in love with the uber-cute real-life little dwarfs in this new release.
Who would ever forget how valiantly Gus fought in the Dark Forest and took the arrow meant for Snow White to save her life.
I had to peck away a tear or two, for just the previous night the two of them danced so beautifully together.
As I was reading an article of James Fowler called Pharisaism, I met another bunch of seven “dwarfs”, if you would pardon my pun.
I had a good giggle when I read about how the Talmud described the seven types of Pharisees.
The first group they identified was the “Shoulder” Pharisee. These were the guys whose shoulders were never big or wide enough to accommodate all their good deeds, like keeping the Sabbath, feeding the hungry, etc.
They tithed to the last drop of wine they owned before taking even one sip and prided themselves on the fact that they were not like the scum of the earth such as the publicans and their kind.
It seems to me they were not part of the crowd when our Lord Jesus taught the people not to let their left hand know what their right hand was doing (Matthew 6:3). Nope, they loved blowing their own trumpet!
Then we meet Mr Wait-a-Little. They were the cautious ones who would weigh all their options a few times, and then wait a little more, before they would do a good deed or help someone in need.
I think we can also call them the Forever Sabbatarians; totally ignorant of Solomon’s advice, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them!” (Proverbs 3:27).
And then, there is the poor Mr Bruised Holier-than-Thou. They walked around with their eyes downcast to avoid looking at women, oblivious to the lustful devils reigning in their hearts, “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
Can you imagine how unclean they would have been if they accidentally, mind you, touched a menstruating woman; not to mention a despised Gentile or Samaritan! Gross!!!
The fourth group they identified was the Hunchbacks. They were not Quasimodo’s ancestors, but the guys who made a big show of trying to be humble.
Perhaps they were trying to win our Pappa’s favor and were well aware that, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble” (James 4:6).
What better way of showing off your humility than walking with a bent back! I am sure they had to endure excruciating back pain because of their hypocrisy.
Close on Mr Hunch Back’s heels follows Mr Ever-Reckoning. This poor guy was a useless mathematician and was forever tallying his good and bad deeds.
This gentleman never seemed to get the scales to balance and was therefore never certain of his standing before our Pappa. What a God-forsaken place to be!
If you search well enough, you might find Mr Scary-Pants hiding in the closet. These guys were forever trying to hide from the wrath of our Pappa for they were lending out their itching ears to the enemy who slyly told them horror stories about their heavenly Father.
They were convinced our Pappa was a monster looking for the slightest excuse to annihilate them. It does not seem as if these guys were familiar with the words of King David’s beautiful psalm, “But even in darkness I cannot hide from you” (Psalm 139).
Then there were also the ones who loved their Pappa and respected Him as their God. Nicodemus and Gamaliel were thought to be good examples of this group. The Kingdom of Heaven accommodates all kinds and flavors, it seems!
Before we shake our heads in innocence, in self-righteousness and with a know-it-all smirk, let us do some serious introspection. Let us ask ourselves how many of these evil dwarfs are hiding in the remote niches of our hearts.
When I was lost in the Kingdom of Insecurity, I used to allow my good deeds to subtly slip into my conversations in the hope of convincing my fellow churchgoers that I was a good Christian.
I knew my alleged enemies much better than I did my Lord Jesus. In fact, I knew them each by name: the demon called Rejection … Death … Insanity … Condemnation … Illness … Unbelief … Doubt … etc … and the worst of them all; Jezebel!
I was worse than the worst Scary-Pants and petrified of my Pappa, convinced He was a mean, exacting God expecting me to earn even His slightest smile.
I was totally deceived by the archenemy of humanity, Satan, who was conquering my mind with his greatest weapon: religion!
Let us bare our hearts to the Light of Heaven, allowing Him to chase away and destroy all the gremlins incubating and hatching in the humid darkness of our souls.
Oh, that He would capture and destroy all those pestering little foxes who ruin the vineyard of our Love!
Let us come to Him with the candor of a little child assured of His waiting arms longing to envelop us in His Loving Embrace.
Much love and sweet blessings.