Friday, April 06, 2007

What is the Holiness Tradition?

Why did Jesus criticize the Pharisees for focusing on outward action rather than on the inner source of action?


nir said...

Because outward actions mean very little in the big picture.

For example, an event is planned to give food to the homeless. One person shows up, another doesn't. Did the person who gave food do it to show how wonderful they are, or because they care about that person? Is the one who doesn't callous, or in so much distress (physical, mental, spiritual, financial) that they can't leave their home to bring the food?

Only God knows the hearts of man, and the only heart we really should be focusing on is our own. This isn't to say we shouldn't be concerned about other's hearts, but to focus on what others are doing means we've lost the whole point. Our relationship with God is with God, and his goal is to mature us, not to have us use him as a reason to hurt or judge others.

Nancy said...

Nir: Thanks for your thoughts. You illustrated the point nicely. It is easy, at least for the short term, to fool others by outward appearance.

I'm thinking when the heart is being transformed, this will be increasingly evident on the outside but as you suggested, God is the only one who knows its (the heart's) true condition and who is able to transform it.

Amy said...

Nir, terrific synopsis. I have nothing to add to that!

Jemila Monroe said...

I think of how many people (including myself) I judge harshly for not acting or being a certain that I think is right, but the more I grasp of how hard that person usually is trying given the burdens they carry (including myself,) the more I have compassion. This is what grace is; recognizing that even when we try our darndest and still fail to meet ideals and standards, we are not labeled "bad" or "unlovable," -- instead we are called, "worthy of compassion, acceptance and new life."

So think what's on the inside really makes the difference between being prideful/judgmental and being humble/compassionate.