Becoming a "Recovering Pharisee"


Hi, I'm ________, and I am a recovering Pharisee... Hi _________!

If only it were that easy. If only there were Pharisee recovery groups to help us accomplish the permanent eradication of pride and self-projected superiority.

It seems to be human nature to develop a sense of self-righteousness...To judge others by a different standard and to measure our righteousness with a prideful attitude.

Jesus calls us to humility. Jesus calls us to dependent trust. Jesus calls us to gratitude...

John Fischer uses the recovery model in his book, 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me) admittedly in somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek way. But, he points us to consider that the church should be the most honest place on earth—a place where it is possible to say among friends: “Hi, I'm John, and I'm a Pharisee.” “Hi, John,” comes the echo, and we revel in the realization that this is the meeting place of accountability for equals.

These are the Simons who want to come down off their pedestals and join the company of saved sinners at the feet of Jesus, who, like the prostitute anointing his feet with perfume and tears, can't seem to get enough of this grace and forgiveness. This is the gospel for those courageous enough to tear off their masks of adequacy and self-righteousness and get on with a life of gratitude and love for others. This is the Pharisee recovery group of which I speak, and these are the steps that will lead us out. I know, for I am an expert in the downturned look, the haughty eye, the wagging head—and I've had enough of it. Welcome to the group.

Quoted from the book, Twelve Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me):

  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 others 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.