We tend to think of the Pharisees as the baddies of Jesus’ story - the people who attacked him, plotted against him and eventually killed him. But this is an unfairly biassed understanding. In fact, most of Jesus’ disciples were Pharisees.
The Pharisees were the good living, well intentioned, hard working, regularly worshipping, scripture reading, morally responsible people of their day. If the Pharisees were around today they would be the kind of people who read faith-related blogs. We are the Pharisees.
Jesus spent a lot of time with these people, discussing and debating faith, life and morality. In the end, the religious people got very frustrated with Jesus, because he appeared to undermine their traditions and their moral framework. In turn, Jesus got very frustrated with the religious people because although they talked a good faith, they were too slow to put it into practice.
Like the Pharisees, we tend to assume that our religion - in itself - serves God. Jesus, however, shows us that God is not interested in religion; he is interested in love, kindness, generosity and forgiveness.
If our religion helps us to be kind, generous and forgiving, it serves us well. But whenever it causes us to be unkind, condemning or unforgiving, there is a serious problem.