“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in talk.” Matthew 22:15 New King James Version
Because I started working at age 14, my work history is varied. I have milked cows for a living, sprayed poison on bugs to rid homes of their infestation, was a Service Writer at a repair shop, and even worked on cars for a very short time period. It was short because I am not a mechanic. I can do some of the work of a mechanic, but a mechanic I am not! I also tried selling automotive additives for about 9 months.
While studying to make the transition to becoming a pastor, I worked at a little store front for a dry cleaning business. It was a drop-off and pick-up location for the items which were sent to the main cleaning facility. Finally, I was a Senior Pastor for more than 13 years. But the job I held the longest was 20 years as a Customer Service Provider for a uniform supply company.
If I stop to consider the places I have worked, most have been providing some form of customer service. I have discovered that in nearly everything in life which has to do with people, someone is going to try to entangle you in your own words.
I realize this amazing revelation has you appreciating my prowess in discovering uncharted areas of life and spirituality. Or not! Because almost everyone (I am learning not to make absolute statements except about death and taxes) has sought at one time or another to entangle someone in their own words.
This I believe occurs most often in what has become known in my vocabulary as Lively Conversation. As we all know, pastors do not argue, debate, criticize, condemn, or rebuke their wives, but anyone else is fair game! And that is where pastors most often end up as Pharisees. Or we end up on the other end of this type of conversation as others try to entangle us in our own words. In either case, we become Pharisees or the disciples of the Pharisees rather than Jesus!
“And they sent to Him their disciples…” Matthew 22:16 New King James Version
This is the part I find extremely interesting. The Pharisees didn’t go to play their political word games. No, they sent their students backed up by the Herodians, those who supported the very government the Jews hated. As the saying goes, politics and religion make strange bedfellows.
There is a very good reason for this. Politics and religion have no business being in the same sentence except in one that is offering absolutes such as death and taxes. I offer you this absolute, politics poisons the spirituality of any group who practices politics in their spirituality. It is pure Pharisaism when it is used to entangle others in their own words.
This is especially true in Christianity where we have a clear directive from the One whose name we take for our own, Jesus Christ. He told us to tell the world of God’s love, His grace and to be witnesses of how we are to relate to God and to each other. We are to show how our lives have been transformed by knowing Him in a personal relationship!
He commanded us as His disciples to love each other as He loves us. Jesus continued by praying that all who would become His followers would love each other. The witness of the disciples love for each other would send to the world the message that it was God the Father who had sent Jesus. All this is contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in which I have never yet discovered any place for politics!
The words of Jesus are transformational in ways only those who have experienced them personally can know. The transformation is intimate and passionate as God makes that change in us through His Grace. God makes His words real in the life of those who have chosen to become His disciples. We become disciples of Jesus, not politicians!
There is no place in the Body of Christ for an attitude that is intent on trying to entangle anyone in their own words. As we become His disciples, entanglement or even entrapment (as it could be called) absolutely has no place in the Body of Christ.
This doesn’t mean Christians should not become involved in the political process. Just leave the politics outside the Church. It is not needed there! Likely this might be the most controversial post I have written. That’s all right with me because I believe politics has been poisoning the Christian Community for far too long. And now is as good a time as any to pay attention to the words of Jesus.
“But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ”Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s”. And He said to them, “Render therefore to
Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God, the things that are God’s.” When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way.” Matthew 22:18-22 New King James Version
Jesus never involved Himself in trying to entangle another person in their own words. He sought to transform them through the Truth of God’s Grace.