Monday, December 31, 2007

Recovering Pharisee

I am a Pharisee.

Full of pride and self-righteousness. Often I don't let it show (well, except to those closest to me), but I know it's there. God knows it's there.

A friend recommended this book, "12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee".

I chuckle when I read it. Not a haha funny chuckle, but a sort of wow, I can't believe he just said that and it's sad but true. I have those same thoughts and feelings! I chuckle at the uncanny likeness of bad attitude I share with the author as he describes my attitude at times to a T.

You know those thoughts Christian! Yes, you! Christian! What exactly are your thoughts when you are behind that slow driver whose left turn signal is still blinking from the turn a mile back when you are running late? Or, what are your thoughts about that woman in line in front of you at the department store that can't find her credit card, then when she does it doesn't work, so she fishes for another card that doesn't work and you have places to go things to do. Are your thoughts Christlike?

Do you roll your eyes back into your skull when the prayer request list at Sunday School goes into it's third hour?

How have you treated your loved ones today? Quick with the tongue? That small part of the body that James says is so full of evil.

Anyway, it is a book of self-examination and of helpful encouragement for attitude adjustment. I've finished only the first chapter, but just reading through the list of the "12 Steps" I feel hopeful that I can admit my failings and work toward building my relationship with Christ to take on more of His likeness.
The 12 Steps

1. We admit that our single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.

2. Have come to believe that our means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than ourselves in our own mind.

3. Realize that we detest mercy being given to those who, unlike us, haven't worked for it and don't deserve it.

4. Have decided that we don't want to get what we deserve after all, and we don't want anyone else to either.

5. Will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but ourselves.

6. Are ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.

7. Embrace the belief that we are, and will always be, experts at sinning.

8. Are looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like us.

9. Are seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider other better than ourselves.

10. Embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.

11. Choose to rid ourselves of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than everyone else.
This should be a very challenging book and I pray that I don't just read it and add to the stack of books on my shelf that collect dust. I'm hopeful that by allowing God to shine His Light on me, and my Pharisaical attitude, that He can heal me and grow me. My hope is in Him...only He can change me!

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