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Like the Pharisees or like Jesus?

I’ve been noticing more and more lately how adults either interact with one another or with kids when it comes to resolving or handling situations when human imperfections come into play. I feel from my observations, that there are generally (and I say that broadly- because no two people are all alike) two categories of characteristics that can be displayed in which a “learning” situation occurs. And this can be between adults, children, or an adult and a child. It could be between Christian homeschool moms or it could be between a homeschool parent and his/her child.

Those two categories could be labeled “The Pharisee Way” or “The Jesus Way”. As we know, the Pharisees were the lawyers in the Bible. Rules are rules, laws are laws, and all should be obeyed to the letter and when they are not, the rule breaker or the person in error, should be given the facts of the case and the error of their ways should be pointed out to them and of course the rule or law is reviewed, and then a consequence is given. (Similar to a court of law, huh?)

The other category is “The Jesus Way”. Did Jesus teach the people the way to go? Did he get his point across in an effective manner where people who were listening learned something and then went on their way? Did he show mercy, grace, and love while he was doing it? Was it unbending in a way that was cold or hard or stern? Was it convicted, yet gentle and guiding? To be like Jesus is not to be a “pushover” or a “weak” parent or someone unconvicted in what is right or wrong. It is to guide or parent with love, a gentle and patient manner, and to show grace. Should there be instances of consequences. You betcha! But before, while, and after those consequences are doled out, love, grace, and kindess can still be displayed.

And that goes, for everyone, I think. As a parent, while worrying about how your children will turn out and if you are doing a good job in your parenting task, it can be easy to slip into the role of the Pharisee. But that’s worry that’s taking precedence. Or, as a teacher, we want to make sure we have the respect of the class and we need to maintain structure and class management or whatever group the adult is in charge of. So, we don’t want to appear weak, so we stick to the rules to the organization and split hairs over how the rules are going to be applied.

When we do this, what are demonstrating to our children? That people should not consider the situation and apply rules accordingly and use our common sense? Or, that no compassion or understanding should be shown to the person who has acted “human” and has made an honest mistake? Or, that we shouldn’t give people the benefit of the doubt and automatically assume that a person is “trying to do their best and they just aren’t perfect?”

I think I’ll go with “the Jesus way”, at least I’m going to try my best. I know I’ll make mistakes, but I hope those around me will show me grace.


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