“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Matthew 23: 27 – 28
We are still in the list of woes today, and it’s another one where it’s all too easy to see how it might apply to us. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees worked hard to follow the law – they studied, they paid their tithe (temple tax), they prayed (in public). They enjoyed the respect of people and the public admiration that this all produced. But they hid the things about themselves which were not so good. They tried to show perfect lives, but inside, because they were worshipping the law and not God, they were dead.
Sometimes it’s terribly easy for the outside appearance of our lives to become too important. We don’t want to admit to ourselves or others or God that we fail, that we are not good, that we make mistakes. When we don’t let God into the mess inside us, when we shut God out, we die inside. He brings life to the dead, light to the darkness, and healing to the sick – he can make our lives good once again if we only let him in.
Prayer: Beloved Father, forgive me for shutting you out and brooding and festering in my wretchedness. I open myself up to you again, help me not to hide from you, help me to keep opening up to your action and healing in my life, until the day comes that I truly reflect your glory. Amen
Action: each time this week that you think of something you’ve done with embarrassment or rage or humiliation, offer a quick prayer giving the memory to God and asking him to forgive and heal it. Try to build this into a habit.