You can tell you are a Pharisee when …

… you are told an uncomfortable truth about yourself and you get angry.

Sometimes when I tell the truth about someone’s sinful condition, people get mad and say hurtful words in response. (These are people who go to church.) This is no different than the way the Pharisees responded to Jesus and the truths He spoke about their lives. Their darkness was brought to light and they did not like it. They got mad and wanted to destroy Him.

When Jesus said uncomfortable things in His disciples’ hearing, what did they do? Many disciples left Jesus while those close to Him responded, “To whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

At one point, when Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him, how did the disciples respond? Did they say:
… “How dare you say such a thing! I’m a good person who goes to church!”
… “Who do You think You are?”
… “I thought You were a friend, but then You say hurtful things to me.”

None of the above. Rather, they responded with, “Lord, is it I?”

Jesus gave us an insight about this behavior in John chapter three. Those who do evil hate the light and won’t come to the light, lest their wrongdoing be exposed to all. These are the ones who would get upset. They are not seekers of the truth about themselves, but rather pretenders. They are like those who should go to the doctor to have their condition checked out, but think that if they ignore it, it will not be real.

Jesus next said that those who “do the truth” (not those who “do good”) come to the light, so that (paraphrasing greatly here) it would be evident that God was at work in him. So if we accept the truth contritely, then it’s proof we are working with God over the issue and are not fighting Him. That’s a good thing, right?

Romans 8 tells us that the Spirit reveals uncomfortable truths to us in order for us to put them to death. Then we are no longer under the strain of those weights, and we experience more life (Romans 8:13). It is the work of the Spirit to reveal unChristlike issues that we may grow up to become more like Him. He points out the issues, then we make the choice to “man up” and deal with them.

Psalm 15 asks, “Who can dwell with God?” One character trait of that person is: he “speaks the truth in his heart.” We cannot become more like Jesus unless we are willing to hear about the areas of our lives that are unlike Him. This will involve struggles as we put off the old and learn to put on the new. The truth of how sinful we are hurts!

When someone points out a negative aspect of your life, would you acknowledge the problem, or get all defensive? If you can accept the truth from the heart, and work it out to become more like Christ, you are in a good place.

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting lives in Southern California with his wife and son. He enjoys encouraging others through writing, and likes reading, digital photography, the outdoors, calligraphy, and iced coffee. He has written several books and ebooks, and hundreds of Christian devotionals. Steve is also having a great time illustrating God's Word with calligraphy.
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