The problem with the pharisees was that they found their righteousness in outward appearances and measurable works. The esteemed themselves with those works and measured themselves by their appearances and the perceptions of onlookers. They did everything extravagantly, noticeably, with such skill and seeming perfection that it earned envy and accolades of the society around. To be a pharisee was to have reached the pinnacle of righteousness according to that culture. But what Jesus saw was dead, ugly, mis-focused hearts in the center of those extravagant shells, and he rebuked them harshly seeing no true love for God.
I don’t know about you, but I find it very tempting at times to be a pharisee mom. If I really put my mind to it, I can do a lot to make myself look like a really great mom. I can do the right crafts. I can take my kids on awesome outings. I can teach my kids to excel academically and memorize the right answer to Bible trivia. I can slave all day to clean my house before guests come over so that it finds itself in a state of order never before seen by my own family and only to be destroyed within 10 minutes of the guests’ arrival. But first impressions are everything, right? I can do a lot, and sometimes with good motives as of course teaching, and outings, and crafts, and house work etc., are in and of themselves just great. But I also can find myself tempted and to seek after those accolades and to care more about the external appearances of my motherhood rather than the true state of my heart and the actual impact on my children.
Do any of you struggle with this? It is so much easier and more instantly gratifying to do the things that I can snap photos of and post on a blog than it is to do the things that will eternally impact the hearts of my children. What good is it if I take my kids on some historical outing in St. Petersburg if I am a frustrated and grumpy from the exertion, causing everyone to have a terrible time? I know that what does shine through to them is when I humble myself and agree to read the same beloved Dora the Explorer book (Gasp! Now THAT is NOT quality children’s literature!) for the hundredth time. Or it is when we just hang out and play ponies or legos instead of making the house look all nice and tidy, or when we talk for a long time about nothing theological or intellectual enough to make a good facebook status, but that still makes my kids feel like I am truly interested in them, etc. It is also in the times when I admit openly before my kids my own sin and apologize to them, showing them my own weakness, and when I admit to them my own desperate need for God’s transformation in my own life.
I love the internet and all of the amazing and edifying things that we can read on all of the great sites and blogs (Ahem, I blog myself, so hopefully I see the value in it! =) ), but as women, naturally predisposed to comparison, I think we all (speaking to myself here) need to be careful that we don’t go from being encouraged and edified and challenged, to becoming competitive and desirous of looking like the an amazing mom rather than actually being the type of mom that our children and husbands most value and need.
I have found many times that when I do what it takes to look like a “best mom” competitor, I often really am doing it for my own pride, negating it all. When I feel, before God, like I am receiving his approval the most, it is often when I am doing the humble and unnoticeable things that look like nothing special to the world around but yet communicate love, attention, and security to my family.
What does your pharisee mom mode look like? When do you most feel the quiet affirmation from the Lord about your mothering?
(Post by: Ashley)