Luke 11:37-42 (Living Bible Translation)
37-38 As he [Jesus] was speaking, one of the Pharisees asked him home for a meal. When Jesus arrived, he sat down to eat without first performing the ceremonial washing required by Jewish custom. This greatly surprised his host.
39 Then Jesus said to him, “You Pharisees wash the outside, but inside you are still dirty—full of greed and wickedness! 40 Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? 41 Purity is best demonstrated by generosity.
42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For though you are careful to tithe even the smallest part of your income, you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave these other things undone.
The Pharisees of ancient times are what we call self-righteous, hypocritical people who expound on ritualistic observances, expect ceremonial cleansing, and are legalistic in their beliefs.
Unfortunately, such people exist throughout the world today, even in American churches. I’ve heard of this kind of “Christian” tell someone they weren’t welcome unless they dressed more appropriately. This is NOT Christ’s way. This is NOT what Christ taught us. No wonder people who are seeking God by looking from the outside of the church to the inside, choose to leave for fear of rejection.
So, years ago when I saw judgmental people calling themselves Christians, I decided to say “I am a follower of Jesus,” when asked about my faith, instead of “Christian.” A lot of the bias against the Christian faith is caused by Christians themselves because they haven’t allowed the teachings of Jesus to travel from their brains to their hearts.
It isn’t necessary to be sophisticated, knowledgeable, or a rule follower. A love relationship with Christ is simply trusting in Him, and letting the relationship grow organically.
“Then Jesus called the children over to him and said to the disciples, ‘Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to men who have hearts as trusting as these little children. And anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get within the Kingdom’s gates.’” (Luke 18:16-17)