Fighting the inner Pharisee

Years ago, I got a phone call  from a friend about another friend that was getting married. .  The friend that called is someone  I respected quite a bit.  I am not sure if my other friends were not invited to the wedding or if they had decided to not go to the wedding.  She was encouraging me to not go to the wedding because they were against my friend getting married to this woman.  I made a decision to go because even if my friend was making a mistake I wanted to support him.

Well, years went by and me and my wife did spend some time with this couple that got married.  They were very devoted Christians,   My friends wife grew up in a Christian home to, as far as I  know, to a very loving christian mother,

However, I have to say that my wife and I had always held back in this relationship.  I am sure we did not exactly know why we held back at first.  As I look back I understand it now.  This couple had a black and white. all or nothing view of the world.   They had an “US” vs “THEM” view of the world as opposed to a “WE” view of the world. I once heard my friends wife when discussing her political beliefs and she used the word “evil” when talking about the other side.

This couple had a capacity to caricaturize people into things bigger than they really were. Kind of like the cartoonist at the fair that is making cartoon portraits.  If they see larger than normal nose, they make the nose in your picture much larger than it really is.  Or if you have big beautiful eyes ….. they make the eyes big an bright.  This couple… like the portrait cartoonist , makes people with bigger ears, noses, and eyes than they actually have.

When this couple discussed people with political beliefs different than theirs .. the other side was not just a bad idea they were “evil”.  This black and white, all or nothing view of the world came out in multiple other ways as well,    Eventually this couple ended up with broken relationships with us and every other relationship we shared with them ….,,,,,,, all for different reasons.

I have tried to reconcile this relationship,,, thinking that the process of reconciliation would be a growing experience for them,  I personally have found more growth in conflict resolution than any other area of my life.  We grow when we deal with difficult situations, feelings, and people. I know it! It would be good for me as well as them!

Unfortunately, my friends do not want to reconcile. If we did reconcile would we just feel better about ourselves and our relationship or would there be some change so that the reason for all the broken relationships is no longer present?  If we reconciled I do not want a first row seat to all the relational dynamics that are causing their broken relationships

Today is sad for me. I find it sad that I had to get a call from a friend asking me to not attend their wedding,  I find it sad my friend had to spend so much time managing his wifes black or white, all or nothing thinking over the years. I find it sad that their is such a multitude of broken relationships in their life. I find it sad that when conflict comes having a grace and mercy lnarrative in life leaves their relational tone.

Mostly, I find it sad that I also have an unloving heart toward their black and white, judgmental nature.  I tend to paint them with a larger nose, eyes, and ears than they really have just like they did to so many others.

Right now all I can do is PRAY for this couple’s Pharisaical Spirit as well as my own inner pharisee.

God have mercy on me a sinner!


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