I'm a Recovering Pharisee

It's easy to become a "Christian Pharisee. The Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee himself, gives us wisdom for overcoming this error. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

My good friend Jan calls herself a “recovering Pharisee.” 

I’ve also gone through legalistic, self-righteous stages in my Christianity that I regret.

Self-righteous legalism breeds:
1. Superiority: thinking we're better than other Christians because of non-essential practices or doctrines.(1)
2. Lack of compassion: blaming people for their difficulties in life.(2)
3. Unhealthy fear: worrying that the slightest insignificant detail might lead to God's wrath.(3)

Paul was a recovering Pharisee too.

He didn't keep quiet about sin. In fact, he used God's Word to teach, rebuke, correct, and train in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

But he recognized and admitted his own sins and had compassion on others.(4)

It's easy to reject legalism when we realize that love for Christ always leads to righteousness, but righteousness does not necessarily lead to love for Christ (John 14:21).

I don't want to have a permissive attitude toward God's commands, nor do I want a self-righteous attitude.(5) 

As a recovering Pharisee, I'm learning to speak the truth in love and praying for that perfect balance of grace and truth that fills the pages of God's Word (Ephesians 4:15; John 1:17).
(1) See Handling Non-Essential Differences Humbly and Biblically - Romans 14
(2)  See Job's Judgmental Friends
(3)  See To Fear or Not to Fear - That is the Question
(4)  Paul confesses his sins (1 Timothy 1:15-16), stresses compassion (Ephesians 4:32), and explains the true source of righteousness (Romans 3:22).
(5) To look at the other extreme - the "Judge-Not" Christians, see Judge Not Scripture out of Context


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It's easy to become a "Christian Pharisee. The Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee himself, gives us wisdom for overcoming this problem.


It's easy to become a "Christian Pharisee. The Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee himself, gives us wisdom for overcoming this error. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible

Bible Love Notes


  1. Hi Gail - I love that, a recovering pharisee! So true. We should think of ourselves as the least and maybe we wont fall into that trap so often. Great post. God bless and have a great weekend

  2. Hi Gail,

    I'm amused that you chose Romans as the verse for your illustration as it was written by Paul--a recovering Pharisee. I've become a follower of your blog. Mine is Manifest Blog if you're interested.

    God Bless!

    1. I hadn't actually made that connection! : ) I appreciate you pointing it out. Paul is the most well-known recovering Pharisee!

  3. I love that - recovering pharisee! so, so true.

  4. I like this post - and that bible verse is always a good reminder! thanks for the comment on my blog - i appreciate it!

  5. I am a recovering Pharisee... The longer I walk with Christ, the more I can identify when I am slipping into those old thought patterns. This is good because I don't want them in my heart. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. :) love this. I think we are all.

  7. righteous judgement is important - we're called to sharpen each other and expose sin in one another's lives in a loving way, but it's awful how quickly i can go from the right attitude to the wrong attitude! no one will see the genuine love of God in me if i'm looking down on them. it quickly disables me from having a servant heart and places wall between the other person and I, which hinders God's ability to use me in their lives {and vice versa}! thank you for the reminder and encouragement!

  8. I lived this post.. It can be difficult to recognise loving judgement and criticism. God doesn't want us to hinder his work so a gentle reminder like this is so important.. Thank you again. Loving sister in Christ..

    1. Really true!! I like what you said. It is too easy to fall into being critical or/and judgemental of others,I have been guilty of this too many times! When I look back,I am VERY disappointed in my behavior. A definite work in progress!!SO thankful for forgiveness! In Christian love my sisters.❤