Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm a Recovering Pharisee

"Hi, my name is Ken and I'm a Recovering Pharisee." Kinda sounds like the way I might introduce myself at a P.A. (Pharisees Anonymous) meeting, doesn't it?

I will forever be grateful to Mike and Phyllis Young for introducing me to the term Recovering Pharisee. I actually heard about their use of the term second-hand from someone else but it needed no explanation. You see, Mike and Phyllis came from a strict religious upbringing and their journey of faith had taken them into a denomination and religious tradition quite unlike the one from which they had come. There were experiencing a much greater expression of freedom in worship than that to which they were accustomed and they were having to make adjustments to this.

Now the Pharisees of Jesus' day were not all bad but they did have the reputation of being, shall we say, a bit judgmental and hypocritical. In that sense, I, too am a Recovering Pharisee. I have been far too judgmental of others in my life and have been working through the recovery process myself for several years. Even in recovery, it's a fine line to walk. Being non-judgmental smells a lot like compromise, if you're not careful. When I see someone who is far from God and living a spiritually unhealthy lifestyle, I now view them more as lost than wrong. In this context, what I mean by lost is that they have wandered off the path that God would have us take and are getting into dangerous territory. A Pharisee would simply scorn this lost person. A Recovering Pharisee has compassion for them the way that Jesus had compassion for the lost he encountered during his time of ministry here on Earth. That's what I want to be able to do . . . to see people as Jesus sees them and to respond to them they way He did (and still, does).

In what ways do you see yourself as a Recovering Pharisee?

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