The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ (LK 18.11-12)
I’m glad I’m not like that self-righteous Pharisee, so glad I have to pray.
Lord, thank you that I’m a Christian, not an alcoholic or a drug addict. Thank you that I don’t swear, that I’m not like gays and lesbians or abortionists or those liberal idiots in Washington. Thank you that I don’t have purple hair and I’m not covered with tattoos and piercings. I tithe and read my Bible and pray before meals. I even prayed last week in Ruby Tuesday.
Hey, wait a minute…
I am the Pharisee.
“We are all naturally self-righteous; it is the family disease of all the children of Adam. We secretly flatter ourselves that we are not so bad as some so that we have something to recommend us to God.” — JC Ryle
I am the Pharisee when my teenager sins and I say “How could you do that?”
I am the Pharisee when I believe I’m right and can’t possibly be wrong.
I am the Pharisee when I think “I hope my wife is listening to this message.”
I am the Pharisee when I judge my fellow Christian thinking, “I can’t believe he would do that. I never would.”
I am the Pharisee when I feel disgust for any unbeliever, or fail to pity them in their sin.
Only the blood of Jesus can cure me. The only antidote for my self-righteousness is Christ’s righteousness, and the only cure for my self-flattery is boasting in the cross.
Join my club, Pharisees Anonymous. I’m President, but we still need a sergeant-at-arms.