Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven – Mt 5:20.
Pharisaism is the attitude of self-righteousness. It is a projection of self as better than others. It is an attitude which says, “I am always right and others are wrong”; “I am good and others are not as good as I am”.
Pharisaism displays a questioning attitude. The attitude of questioning is good provided it is meant to clarify doubts and to grow in knowledge and wisdom. The pharisaic questions aim at finding fault with others or to expose ignorance and littleness. But they fail to realize that people tend to find fault with others mainly due to their own insecurity, low self-image, prejudice and jealousy.
The pharisees speaks of love, but will not be charitable; they stress the means rather than the end. They speak of faith but demonstrates lack of faith. They project doctrines but are yet unconvinced.
Jesus often opposed and rebuked the pharisees. They observed the rules and regulations to the minutest details. They found faults and multiply laws. In observing the externals, they forgot the most important commandment – love of God and neighbour.
Jesus teaches that we are created in love and to love. Fulness of life can be achieved only through a life of love. The pharisees failedthe ultimat test of love – love of God and neighbour. They served God only with their lips while their hearts were far from Him. They thought that they would be saved by merely observing the law. Hence, law became a substitute for God in their lives.
The pharisees made the life of others miserable and difficult. They critized others, but failed to realise that critical judgement should start with oneself, and it should be guided by love, forgiveness and understanding.
Culled from Devasia Puthiaparambil
are you a pharisee?
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