OMG! Is This Me?

by Cynthia Jennings on August 5, 2020
Time and time again Jesus called out a group of religious people called the Pharisees for believing and acting on the belief that they were better than everyone else simply because they followed all the religious rules of that day. They thought they had it all figured out!
How often have we or better yet, let me rephrase this? Have you ever, or do you know someone who believed or acted on the belief that you (they) are better than someone else simply because you (they)go to church weekly, study and pray?
During Jesus time on earth, there was one group of people He called out more than any other.

Tax collectors? Nope. Adulterers? I don’t think so. Murderers? I mean they’re bad, but no. It was the Pharisees! 

I know you’re probably thinking, that was so long ago. We don’t have Pharisees today do we? The true answer….yes! If we’re honest we all have been guilty of Pharisee tendencies. The question is do we hold on to those tendencies?

Four ways to know if you have  a Pharisaical heart and to hopefully help change your heart for the better.

1. Eager to Point Out Other’s Flaws: This Pharisaical flaw is eager to tell others what they did wrong. This flaw is very demeaning and lacks constructive criticism.
*Examine your own heart first, really look at why you’re so excited to point out the flaws in the person you’re confronting, and choose to work on yourself before calling out someone else.

2.You Get Defensive When Someone Points Out Your Flaws: This builds right on the first sign that you have a Pharisaical heart—while you might be eager to point out the shortcomings in those around you, you get overly-defensive whenever someone “dares” to say that you’re wrong or less than perfect.
*We all have flaws. If someone comes to you in love with constructive criticism, we should be quick to invite feedback rather than putting our guard up! If we're not, we may be missing out on the ways Jesus desires to mature us.

3.You’re an Expert on EVERYTHING: Your viewpoint (on any subject) is the right way all the time it’s all or nothing. This is the right way...and everything and everyone else is wrong. There is no gray, no in-between. 
*No one is right on everything. Be open to receiving that someone else knows something you don’t.

4.You’ve Forgotten Your Deep Need for Jesus: Probably the most devastating symptom of a Pharisaical heart, is when we forget our own deep need for Jesus, his grace and forgiveness. This becomes evident when statements of pride, gossip and jealousy are spoken out of our mouths, “I wish people would read their Bible more like I do.” “She parties all weekend long. I’d never say it to her face. But I can’t believe it.” “I have reasons for the things I do, but they have everything perfect and they still mess it up.”
*We all need Jesus, desperately, but when our hearts become more Pharisaical than humble, we tend to forget how great that need is. The insignificant sins of others are magnified while your own blatant sins are minimized. When we forget how great of a need we have for Jesus, each and every day, something fundamental changes in us. We stop viewing each day as a gift, and instead look at our lives as a thing we’ve earned.

Oddly enough the people (Pharisees) who were the loudest in criticizing Jesus, were also the same group of people who quickly looked to kill him when he challenged them. OMG! Is this me? Am I a modern-day Pharisee who is quick to criticize someone else and in doing so I kill that person’s spirit?
If you fall into any of the four points listed above, don’t fret. Change for the better can happen at any moment. Where there is life there is hope. (Proverbs 23:18)

PEARLStoPONDER: Let’s be honest! All of us at some point have fallen into one of the above four categories. I know I have. I praise God for shining a light on my Pharisaical heart. But more importantly I thank God for giving me the grace and knowledge to change my Pharisaical heart to a heart that’s pleasing to Him. If He did it for me, He can do it for you too!
Luke 18:11-14: 11 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. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
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