We read about them in the New Testament. We don’t hear anything good about them insofar as compared to Christ, but what is really the problem with who they were? It comes down to one simple, but life-bearing issue: controlling one’s conscience.
Man, you and I, we, have this need for control, to have influence, to think we are in a better position than others. It’s innate and we cannot disagree with it and those who won’t agree is because you’ve already found yourself in the position of needing to have someone over you and have grown content with being a follower. Pretty harsh statement, is it not? But, this is not really what I wish to get into, but it stems from a much deeper issue, and this is learning how to distinguish between “sharing” and “witnessing” versus “condemnation” and “telling” people for the purpose of “controlling” them.
This is still a problem within the church. The Jews had their Scribes and Pharisees, the Catholic Church has their dogmas and edicts given by popes, cardinals and priests, and what do we Protestants have? We have our own set of “Scribes and Pharisees”, too! Oh, yes we do. When our witness is more about attempting to control people by the end result of sin and not the sin itself, this is where we’ve gone over into being “Scribes and Pharisees”. It’s the manner and tactics used which causes us to be just as guilty as these other guys. I used to quote this saying, “I’m not going to heaven simply because I was afraid of hell.” I am going to heaven because I want to, therefore, I do those things which are required for admission along with accepting the “gift” of the invitation given me by Christ.
It is not my goal to “frighten” or “coerce” anyone into following the path I’ve chosen. I can only tell/witness to someone “why” I did it and what I have avoided by doing so. I think we spend too much time spouting the negatives and “what ifs” instead of focusing on what God has done for us. I wish not to get into a mode, at least not anymore, of trying to win converts using fear tactics because then they are not true converts at all.
While there are certain hold-fast beliefs which are true, for example: (1) If you do not keep God’s Commandments you will be lost, (2) The Sabbath is a part of God’s Commandments, (3) Recognize all Commandments can only be accomplished by love is a much better presentation than to say, “you are going to hell if you do not join my church, or your church, for that matter!” Little do we follow Jesus’s method of witnessing and He did have a heaven or hell to put you.
So, take from the “Scribes and Pharisees” which part is good. They knew the Law and kept it but get rid of that other stuff which involved being in control of other people’s conscience. In the end, we’re only responsible for ourselves and that should be a full-time business for any one of us. For the others, show them love and hope it is returned to you.
April 20, 2015