Think about it. Who in our society offends us the most? It’s the robbers, the killers, the rapists—the flagrant law breakers.
Now think about Jesus. Who offended Him the most? It was the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day—the legalistic law keepers. They upset Him the most.
But, why the Pharisees? After all, they went to the temple, paid the tithes, read the Word, kept the Law, prayed the prayers. So, why the prominent law keepers? Although they were representatives of the house of God, they did not represent the heart of God. Christ called them “hypocrites.” And He made it plain: They will be rewarded here on earth, but certainly not in heaven.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:5)
The practice of spiritual abuse has persisted ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden distorted and outright lied about God’s words to Adam and Eve. In doing so, he managed to create doubt in their minds regarding the character of God and His relationship to those He had created. The result, of course, was that they found the thought of becoming like God more appealing than remaining dependent on God. That thought led them to trust Satan’s words rather than God’s words, and their descendants have struggled with this same problem ever since. The serpent said to Eve,
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ . . . You will not surely die . . . . For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1, 4)
The serpent skewed God’s Word and seduced the first couple into taking the fatal bite!
“Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:2-3)