Like a Pharisee…

This weekend, I was rebuked by my partner as I worried about an upcoming meeting that I’m going to have with my Research Assistants and Line Manager.

The meeting is to discuss, among other things, why there might be face-to-face communication issues between us, and why they might perceive me as rude, interrupting them, and making them constantly feel like they’ve done wrong, when I have no memory of being or doing any of these things – in fact, the opposite.

As I went over and over it out loud, my partner told me I was being like a Pharisee:

Everything they [the Pharisees] do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

Matthew 23 v 5-7 (NIV)

He said that I seemed only to care about my “outer morality”, the way that others see me as a moral person or not, much more than I cared about knowing within myself that I have done nothing wrong, and that anything they perceive as wrong is therefore going to be no more than a misconception on their part. He claimed that my morality was all inside-out, and totally not what he’d expect from me as a Christian.

And this time, I think he has a point. I am left wondering why I care so much about other (unnamed to me) people finding me rude (et al.) – rather than focusing on what I know and what God thinks of my moral behaviour. And I don’t really have an answer. But I’ll try to focus more on what God thinks.

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