Sunday, January 12, 2014

Accidental Pharisee, Part Two PRIDE

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I have been thinking a lot about how I am a hypocrite or a Pharisee. For example, my husband (who has dementia) needs to do certain basic tasks such as take his pills, shower, and shave. HE DOESN'T WANT TO DO THESE THINGS AT TIMES.  I am committed to exercise and housework and do not want to do these even as he doesn't want to shave. I AM IN TOUCH WITH THE HYPOCRITE IN ME. Larry Osborne's book, Accidental Pharisees, is helping me--humbling me. So much meat in this book for my life. In my pride I excuse myself because I work and in my "spare" time I work on the dissertation. But I need to face those obligations, not excuse myself. Lord, what is Your will for me each day?

The thought provoking questions in red for the next chapters of part two are on pp. 63-64 and my answers are in black.

1. As we've seen, our spiritual comparisons can be spiritually dangerous. Take a moment to list all the downsides and dangers you can think of that can come from comparing ourselves with others.
We don't know the heart of others. We think that we should always come out on top. We dare think that our theological knowledge gives us special favor with God. When we compare, we exhibit pure pride.

2. It's hard, if not impossible, to avoid making comparisons They happen naturally and subconsciously.

a. What are some areas of your life where you are most prone to compare yourself with others? I compare myself with 1) people who don't meditate on Scripture or have devotions; 2) people who don't tithe; 3) people who don't honor their parents because they are too busy; 3 )people who are stingy.

b. When you find yourself comparing, are you most likely to focus on areas of your life where you don't match up, or on areas where you tend to come out on top? Why do you think that is? I focus on the areas where I come out on top--my generosity. I have no real basis for comparing myself with thrifty people. I need to be more thrifty myself. Osborne cites the parable of the tax-collector and the pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 and he writes, Looking down on others is also the ultimate reward-killer. It will nullify a boatload of good deeds and righteous living(p. 46).

3. If it's true that we all have a list of people we naturally look down on, what types of people are most likely to end up on your persona, "I'm so glad I'm not like them list"? Thinking about this blog I look down on dispensationalists and emergent folks. Sometimes I look down on people who exhibit certain lifestyle choices that do not jive with my older generation 69 years of living. What do you think Jesus would say to you about your list? He loves them all and is gracious to all of them and I need to be the same. Osborne writes on p. 48: To keep from falling into that trap, I try to regularly ask myself if there is any group of people or Christians for whom I am developing a knee-jerk response of disgust, disdain, or aversion. If the answer is yes, it's an early warning sign that I'm headed downy the path of arrogance. 

4. How would you advise someone who asked you, "What can I do to avoid 'log-eye disease'?" I would laugh and say that I sometimes look at the worst in others and am blind to my own sin.  I am working on this also. What specific steps would you suggest they take? Meditate on verses such as Matthew 7:5 which says Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. I need to often remind myself of this and also Matthew 7:1.

5. Do you think most people are inclined to use the Bible as a mirror, or as a pair of binoculars? Osborne points out that many Christians use the Scripture to point out the faults of others. I can't decide, but probably a lot of people do use Scripture as binoculars for those other people's faults. Which are you most inclined toward, and why? Both. Daily my being in the Word gives me a mirror, but I also see pride in myself when I compare myself to others with my binoculars. Osborne writes on p. 59: We forget that the entrance exam to heaven is a blood test [Christ's blood], not a Scantron. We forget that pride and a lack of love nullifies our knowledge, even if it's a full and complete understanding of all the mysteries in the Bible. Osborne then footnotes 1 Cor. 13:1-4.  Knowledge is not the most important thing. Love is called the greatest thing in 1 Cor. 13:13. Furthermore, 1 Cor. 8:1-2 reads: Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 

Lord, help me grow in love 
and not be proud of knowledge. 

6. If you had to pick just one insight from part 2 that has your name on it, what would it be? Pride that looks down on others. Why? I am deceived and have a plank in my eye. And how do you plan to respond to it? Confession and prayer. I plan to return to the ideas in this book, Scripture such as mentioned above and recognize pride as sinful.

How are you dealing with 
pride in your life?  


  1. This post was especially relevant for me. I've been struggling with a situation and I'm realizing I need to pray and ask the Lord if I am being judgmental. I believe I may be looking down on this person. Great questions! I really enjoyed it!

    1. You too! Yes, this book is causing me to think also about the plank in my eye, rather than the beam in someone else's eyes.

  2. I'm one of those people that have to remember and ask for forgiveness that I'm the one that has the plank in my eye rather than the splinter in the other person's eye. I have lots of verses underline in my Bible with "ouch" next to them so the scripture tends to speak to me about my faults rather than the faults of others, though I have to say, now that it comes to mind, that there were certain scriptures I read about possessions and treasures and immediately thought of my in laws that put such high regard to possessions, then I had to remember the plank in my eye, splinter in them.

    I also can be a bit prideful when I'm at church sitting next to someone and I open my Bible and its falling apart, all marked up, and I think "look at me, how much in the word I am", wondering if they are looking at it, but in reality they probably are not.

    As far as dealing with pride, it is confession and trying to repent and remembering that old plank in the eye. Again, it does sound like a really good book; just wish I had the time to delve into it at this time.


    1. Betty,

      I am taking you on this journey with this book and you may have other books that I should read.

      Hmm, I also notice people who seem to be materialistic and look down on them, but really I might be envious. I do think we should confess our envy to the LORD and thank Him for his provision for us and ask for help with our attitude.


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