“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness.” (Matthew 23:27 NKJV)
The Author Marybeth Whalen writes: "The painters painted the wall leading downstairs… A week later I discovered while the wall had been repainted, the habits hadn't changed. The kids were still… dragging their dirty hands behind them, making what was white and clean, grey and dirty… Like that wall, if I'm not careful I can cover up what's there… wear the Christian t-shirt, carry my Bible, smile like everything's great, and talk a good game about my walk with the Lord, but deep inside the ugly old habits are… waiting to be revealed the moment life gets messy… I can become a modern-day Pharisee who focuses on the whitewash… and ignores the dirty stuff underneath."
In Bible times, tombs were whitewashed on the outside to disguise the death and decay inside. Jesus told the Pharisees: "People look at you and think you're saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds" (Matthew 23:28 TM). Acting like a Pharisee saying, "I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else" (Luke 18:11NLT), precludes grace, mercy and compassion. We live in an appearance-driven society and Jesus understood the danger that comes from focusing on looks instead of your spiritual condition. So, how do you stop it from happening?
a) Follow Jesus' example. He specialized in ministering to the broken, the forgotten, the lost and the lonely.
b) Never forget that while you may be a Christian, you'll still struggle in certain areas.
c) Surround yourself with transparent people who lift you when you fall and encourage you to be real.
In His Love
Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA
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