Are We Pharisees?

I got a haircut this week and, while I was in the barber shop, I observed as a woman who had brought her kids to get a haircut began to openly rebuke one of the barbers for wearing a t-shirt he had bought at a concert by goth-metal rocker Rob Zombie. This t-shirt contained no vulgar language or imagery, yet this woman made it clear that she was a “Christian” and that she would not have brought her children into this establishment if she had known that this barber would be wearing “that kind of t-shirt.”

This is in all ways contradictory to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The woman pronounced judgment on this barber based solely on his t-shirt and, rather than treat him in love, as we are commanded by Christ to do (it is, after all, the second greatest commandment, in his words in Matthew 22:39), she became self-righteous like the Pharisees, who refused to associate themselves with anyone other than “righteous” religious people like themselves and whom Jesus questioned, “How are you to escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33).

Is it not our Savior who went to the houses of tax collectors and dined with prostitutes and drunkards? Of course! For “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Now, if this woman had judged the barber based on him sinning, it would be bad enough, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, she did not witness this man in any sin of any kind, but simply made an assumption based on a t-shirt he was wearing. A t-shirt from a rock ‘n’ roll concert!

We all must learn something from this, because we all are judgmental – every last one. It is part of our very sin nature. I have been and am as guilty as any other. But let us truly try to follow Christ’s command in this life to “love your neighbor as yourself.”