Fix the Pharisee Mindset!

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus answering said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’

“’A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ And he said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’” Luke 7:36-47

Simon the Pharisee was looking good, spiffed in dress and attitude, entertaining the curious, famous prophet Jesus. All was smooth and right until a street walker entered, shocking the host, puncturing the nice clean dinner party with her tawdry appearance and sin smell. Conversation halted, all eyes fixed on her as she approached Jesus, worthy only to stand behind, anoint His feet, and weep, and lavish affection on this Holy One. Ignoring the love-mercy fragrance blend of her ointment that permeated the air, all the Pharisee could do was criticize. That’s how Pharisees think and act. They look better, do better, judge better, are better.

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But when Jesus enters in, all that better gets pushed aside. He knows how we think and checks our horrid pride. He values honest humility, He loves the loving, He forgives the repentant. He mercifully exposes our self-righteousness because He wants to clothe us in His righteousness, but we must be willing to undress and change our superior self-promoting garb.

What condescending attitudes toward others do we carry, and let influence how we treat those unlike us? Where are we dismissing another due to poor choices, or conditions where they had no choice at all, because we are trying to preserve face or a sense of worth in comparison? Would we allow Jesus to perform a mindset makeover?

Father, with Your mindset, by Your Spirit, and for Your sake, may I do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but everything with humility and selfless love. (Philippians 2:1-8)

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