Question: I’m A Screwed Up Hypocritical Pharisee — Is There Grace For Me?



Anonymous asked:

So I have discovered that, I’m a hypocrite and a Pharisee. I ended up disappointing my pastor and my spiritual family with my dishonesty. I feel that I have no strength to face Jesus or my church because of my sinfulness. I am honestly confused with my faith and lukewarm in everything that I do. I want to turn and follow Jesus but I feel that I have crossed the line so now I don’t even know if I’m forgiven by God. What I’m asking is does Jesus really meet us where we are? Even Pharisees?

 

If I could talk to you face to face, I’d give you an awkwardly long hug and start from there. Please, please, please believe: God still loves you and He’s still rooting for you, and so am I.

I’m not just saying that. Your message shows that you’re owning up to what you’ve done. I see no hint of defensive posture or making excuses. Right now, you have more insight and self-awareness about your condition than the majority of churchgoers — and while I don’t mean to compare or keep score, you’re in the right place. God is already doing something in you. Yes, you might lose opportunities in the world — perhaps big ones that you’ll mourn over — but you’ll always have a second chance with God.

I understand what it’s like to disappoint people. I know what it’s like to walk into church unable to look at people in the eye. I know what it’s like to believe you can’t do anything right and to think an entire ministry hates you. I especially know what it’s like to imagine a room full of people who are talking about you, berating you, saying “I always knew he was a little weird,” and maybe saying some truth in there, but filled with their own embellishments.

I beat myself up almost daily over stupid things I have said and for stupid actions that I can hardly explain myself. You know: there’s that late-night twitch when you replay some terrible thing you did, over and over. It’s a loop of self-condemnation, and I’ve been there.

I’m not trying to play the victim-card. We know what we’re responsible for. Sure, our motives might be a hot mess and our actions messier still, but we still know where we got it wrong. People might be rightly upset with you, and you need to let them have that, which it appears like you’re doing.

This is why the moment of defeat matters less than the moment right after. That probably sounds like the Christianese thing to say, but I am so dang serious. You can’t beat yourself up forever. You can’t keep sitting in the back of church with your head down. You can’t revel in your own shame and self-pity as if this is paying your debt. You might think, “I need to show these people I’m really sorry” and I understand that mentality, but there is no end to that, and life goes on, and so must you.

 

It could mean that you must reconcile with some people, to pick up a few pieces of the wreckage and make sense of it before you move on. It could mean you schedule with your pastor face-to-face and ask him how to make it right. It could mean changing churches and starting over. However it looks moving forward, please do not be motivated by shame or the urge to punish yourself out of penance.

Maybe no one will believe you’re truly repenting. Perhaps this church or this pastor won’t get over it for a long time. That’s okay. You need to work on you today. Approach Him with open hands and ask for grace, restoration, mercy, wisdom, and a way forward. Instead of telling people you’re repenting, just repent.

This time, more than any other time, is your moment to cling onto Jesus for all his strength to grow into the person you were meant to be — NOT because you’re trying to prove yourself to anyone, but because God knows you’re better than this, and He can still work through fallen people such as us.

I’m with you on this. I have failed more times than I can count. I have wept over dead dreams, broken ministries, lost opportunities, and worst of all, vanished friends. I end up in a spiral of wanting to explain my side of the story, but not everyone will believe it anyway. There is Only One who truly sees my heart and yours, because He made you and He knows you — and He truly does meet you where you are. At rock bottom, Jesus is there. I pray you will not use this time to be too hard on yourself nor lash out at your church, but instead to work on you. That must begin with Him.

— J.S.

12 thoughts on “Question: I’m A Screwed Up Hypocritical Pharisee — Is There Grace For Me?

  1. This is an encouraging word J. S. We have all had those moments when our eyes are unveiled to our own hypocrisy. Those moments are painful but necessary if we are to move deeper in our faith. The shock of seeing our hearts revealed can often stun our emotions leaving us feeling like we are Luke warm for a while. But as we press in by faith in the word our hearts slowly recover. At least mine did.

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  2. I was the epitome of the pharisee and the hypocrite…and Jesus changed me – and if he can change me and stick by me, while seeing my sin and messiness and screw ups and misery….then he can stick by anyone. And He is still changing my hypocritical and Pharisaical tendencies. When I was caught in my sin I had similar questions – can God really forgive me? Will he really love me as I am? Did Jesus really come and die while I was a sinner? JS you answer this clarity and tenderness. A song I have been humming since I read this post is Matt Maher’s Christ is Risen:
    Let no one caught in sin remain
    Inside the lie of inward shame
    We fix our eyes upon the cross
    And run to Him who showed great love
    And bled for us
    Freely You’ve bled for us

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    1. Thank you for sharing that wonderful thought, my brother.
      When I see the track record of our cherished Bible figures, they all read like rejects from a terrible search committee.
      Noah the drunk. David the adulterer and murderer. Paul the terrorist and persecutor. And so on.
      I don’t say that to condone these things, but as you said, to show God can make anything out of anyone.
      As Martin Luther said, “God created the world out of nothing; so as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us.”

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  3. Well given advice good friend! Seeing how real our hypocrisy is puts us right where God would have us be, in desperate need of grace. I was going to quote Luther… you beat me to it. Blessings.

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    1. Thank you! I believe the tough part is even admitting the hypocrisy. That first step is so excruciating and can easily lead to despair if it weren’t for grace.

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  4. Reblogged this on Captured Moments of A Journeyman and commented:
    Why do I have this hair-raising feeling that I am meant to stumble across this blog (awesome, if I may add)? Blog-reading in the wee hours of the morning is enough sign that today’s THE day to read this blog. So yes, I am sharing the articles that mainly caught my full attention – simply because I can totally relate. One way or the other. 🙂

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