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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Pharisees Among Us

Pharisees. Most of us have heard that term. Many of us are aware that Jesus didn't have many good things to say about the Pharisees.

It struck me, in my early-morning musings, that there are some frightening parallels between the ancient Pharisees and those who lean hard to the right of the political realm.

Yes, those of us who lean left are guilty of some of the same things - please don't think I am unaware of that.

As I tried to compile a list of characteristics, I am most definitely aware that I have been guilty of most, if not all, of them at times. I am human. I need to strive to be more aware of these tendencies in myself and hope that my friends love me enough to point 'em out when they see 'em!

We need, I believe, to "Speak the truth in love" - to one another, to our legislators, to those who oppose us.

Even as I read my words, I recognize that I may be coming off as "preachy", but that is not my intent - my intent is to point out truth, to encourage myself and others to stick to the high road.

I realize that this is somewhat of a sermon. Maybe that's okay.

When I think about it, some of the best sermons I've seen and heard, of late, were wearing parkas and carrying signs.  

Let's get to the traits of the Pharisees of Jesus' time - and of ours.

  • Glorify in connections with the truly Godly, but may have no holiness themselves
  • Wear a mask of external righteousness; consider themselves "holy" because of their external appearances
  • Will not mingle with , and exhibit no real concern for, those whom they see as "sinners"
  • Hypocritical
  • Very critical of others in small matters
  • Live by accusation
  • Motivated by jealousy, hatred
  • Suspicious of others; always looking for the wrong in others
  • Careless and hurtful in their speech. (I think of this as "care-less")
  • Neglect others' needs; justify this in the name of religion
  • Easily offended
  • Follow blindly - undiscerning
  • Make no allowances for others - their way is the only way
  • Seek to "catch" others in their words and repeat half-sentences out of context to make others look bad
  • Hard-hearted
  • Know what is right, but do not DO what is right
  • Put heavy burdens on people, but will not lift a finger to help others without the possibility of personal gain
  • Seek recognition by others; love to be in high positions/places of honor
  • Controlling
  • Willing to corrupt others; lead them astray for personal gain/perpetuation of their agenda
  • Take advantage of the poor; use psychological tactics/deception to get money
  • Pray long prayers in public to appear "righteous"
  • Encourage others to feel that they are being "righteous" in their wrongdoing
  • Add their modifications to the teachings of Jesus... do not see the inconsistency in this 
  • Neglect mercy, grace and faithfulness
  • Focus on minor issues - strains out gnats while swallowing camels
  • Greedy ... want more and more and MORE for themselves, but don't bless others
  •  Say, "*I* would never have done that", while not seeing nor admitting their own corruption
  •  Persecute others - especially those who will not listen to them and do it "their way"
  • Fear the opinions of others - enough to engage in wrongdoing to maintain favor 
  • Love money - "use people, love things" rather than "love people, use things"
  • Express thankfulness that they are "better" than others; exult themselves
  • Pride in their own works/gifts; lack humility; boastful about achievements
  • Look down upon other people; contemptuous toward others
  • Accusatory toward others, while not judging themselves
  • Lie
  • Jealous of/judgemental toward those who do more good for others than they do
  • Value tradition over true righteousness
  • Self-justifying - will not humbly admit their own faults and wrongdoing

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