Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Aren't you simply a Pharisee?
In your last blog, someone could say you are just being Pharisaical by picking and choosing whom to help rather than just spreading your compassion, time and money around indiscriminately. They could say you are just like the Pharisee and the priest who walked by the wounded man, leaving it up to the Good Samaritan to gain Christ's commendation.
If I was talking about walking past a wounded man, then this comment would be rightly aimed at me, and I would deservedly be accused of Pharisaism. However, I am not talking about this. I am talking about the psychological manipulation that takes place when someone says to me that it is every poor person's right to have a blanket, therefore, I must give up my savings so that all the poor people everywhere can have blankets. But for what reason are these people poor? Some are poor because they choose to drink alcohol excessively, and urinate their earnings down the toilet. Some are poor because they choose to gamble their wages. Some are poor because they are lazy and will not work. Do I deny my children a better education, to give such wastrels a blanket? If such a person repented of their sin of drunkenness/gambling/laziness, and began to attend church freely, and asked for help to start again, then, of course I would consider giving them a blanket to help them on their way towards a changed life. But for me to keep giving blankets to those who keep spitting in the face of my Saviour is sin.
Equally, I cannot provide blankets for every person in the world who does not have a blanket. I simply do not have the capacity to make that much money, and also attend to my duties as a husband and a father. I am only responsible for those in my sphere of influence. My sphere of influence includes the wounded man within my sight. If I were to walk around such a man because I did not know if he was a righteous poor person or not would be wickedness on my part. In God's providence, that wounded man's need has been brought to my attention, therefore, if I have a blanket to spare, then it is my duty to come to his aid, and loan or give him my extra blanket, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. If he is a righteous man, then I have ministered to my brother's need. If he is not of the household of faith, then I am calling him to an opportunity to respond to the grace of God being extended to him through my act of kindness. This is my duty, this is the extent of my obligation, and God holds me accountable for no more, but also no less. To demand more is theft and psychological blackmail. For me to do less, is Pharisaical dereliction of duty.