Monday, June 03, 2013

Accidental Pharisees


Accidental Pharisees:
Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity And The Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith

By Larry Osborne

Published by Zondervan, 2012


If somebody called me a Pharisee, I would be upset, offended and secretly, pretty sure that it was an accurate observation.

Is it actually an insult or something of a compliment? Who were the Pharisees and how did they get their reputation for zealotry among the Jewish people in Jesus' time?

This is a really interesting book which looks at the Pharisees in a fresh way, and focuses on how terrifyingly easy it is to fall into accidental Pharisaism without even realising it... filled with enthusiasm for the Faith, we try to clean up our lives and grow spiritually. Gradually we notice that others in our faith family are not making the same steps and progress that we are, and the niggling thought creeps in that they are not truly disciples of Christ in the way we are, not committed to Christianity in the way we are, and therefore they are slackers, lightweights, and eventually, we think they are simply not as good as we are.

Have you ever done this? I know I certainly have, and I found myself convicted on almost every single page of this book. "Unfortunately, many of us fail to grasp how dangerous pride is. We know that we shouldn’t look down on others, but we tend to see it as a small sin. It’s not the kind of thing you go to prison for; it falls somewhere between failing to floss and driving too fast. It’s something to work on. But no big deal. Even if we admit to periodic bouts with pride, what most of us mean is, “It’s tough staying humble when I’m so much better than everyone else.” " (Page 31)   Dear Lord, that's me to a T, I am ashamed to say.

 Larry Osborne looks carefully at the alternatives ways of behaving  and of living out our Christian faith which do not run the risk of us becoming accidental Pharisees. Even good things can lead to problems; it is not a good idea to become majorly obsessed with national or global issues (even Church-related issues!), over which we may personally  have little control or impact, when such interest  may be to the detriment of those around us - our family, friends, neighbours - who are also deserving of our love, time, attention, gentleness and compassion. Of course it is important to be aware of "big issues" and to care about them greatly, but not to the point when it adversely affects our relationships with those around us.

There is an enormous amount in this book which would be of immense value to Christians of all denominations, some aspects may  not gel with the doctrines of every denomination, but this book is well worth a read, and as far as I am concerned, it's a keeper for my spiritual book library.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book as part of the Booksneeze program, in exchange for my honest opinion and review of the book.




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