You Might Be A Pharisee If…
You Elevate Traditions To The Status Of Scripture. ” Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain. And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” Mark 2:23-24 (NKJV)
The Pharisees are upset at this point because Jesus’ disciples were plucking and eating grain on the Sabbath day. Notice the wording of the Pharisees. They asked Jesus why His disciples were doing what is “not lawful” on the Sabbath day. By saying that what the disciples were doing was not lawful, they were saying it was a violation of God’s Law and thus a sin. The problem with what the Pharisees were doing in judging the disciples is that their judgment was not based on the Law, but on their traditions about what was meant by keeping the Sabbath holy (Ex 20:8-11). For hundreds of years the Pharisees, and other religious leaders, had added regulation on top of regulation that went far beyond the teaching of Scripture. In doing so, they had taken a day that Jesus said was meant to be a blessing and turned it into a huge burden.
This is what phariseeism does. It takes a manmade tradition or rule, and it elevates it to the place of Scripture. Now tradition in and of its self isn’t wrong. I mean there is nothing inherently wrong with having traditions. In a lot of ways a tradition is no different than a preference. There is nothing in the world wrong with having traditions and preferences. We all have them. The problem comes when we start looking down our noses at those that don’t follow the same traditions and don’t have the same preferences that we have. If we are not careful, we become Pharisees and start thinking that other people aren’t as good of Christians as we are because they don’t have the same traditions preferences that we do. This is what Pharisees do. Pharisees are those elevate their preferences and traditions to the level of Scripture and condemn anyone who doesn’t follow these traditions.
If you determine right and wrong, sin or not sin, worldly or not worldly based on your traditions, and your preferences rather than Scripture, you might be a Pharisee.
You Look For Reasons To Condemn Others. “And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.” Mark 3:1-2 (NKJV)
The wording is so very important. They are watching Jesus so that they might accuse Him. They aren’t trying to decide if Jesus is a good guy or not. They are watching Jesus so that they might accuse Him. They aren’t watching Jesus to see if He’s a prophet. They are watching Jesus so that they might accuse Him. They aren’t watching Jesus to see if He’s the long awaited Messiah. They are watching Jesus so that they might accuse Him. Do you get what they are doing? They have already made up their mind about Jesus. Now, all they are doing is looking for something, anything that will justify the conclusion they’ve already reached.
This is what Pharisees do. One of the attributes of this sort of pharisaical mindset is to take everything in the worst possible way. Pharisees look for ways to say that something is wrong. Let’s say there are five ways to take something, and four are good but one is bad. The Pharisee will take it the bad way every time.
What happens if we are Pharisees is that we make assumptions about the character, nature, devotion, life, whatever, of a person. These assumptions are always negative. “Their fake”, “There’s just something wrong with them”, “They just aren’t trustworthy”, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s cheating on his wife”. Stuff like that. Then, when we are Pharisees, we begin to look for stuff they do that supports our assumption. “She smiled when he looked at you, but as soon as you turned away she stopped. She was only smiling because you were looking.” ” Did you see the way he kept his hand in his pocket? That was weird right? I mean, who does that?” “I heard her telling something that I would almost guarantee you was told to her in confidence.” “Have you seen the way he looks around the room? It’s like he’s looking for women to ogle.”
If you make assumptions about the character, nature, devotion, life, whatever, of a person and then seek to support those assumptions by taking everything they do in the worst possible way, you might be a Pharisee.
I’ll write about this some more tomorrow