Tony: Welcome to the weekly meeting of Pharisee's Anonymous.
Bob: Hi, my name is Bob and I'm a recovering Pharisee.
(Group of men all greet Bob)
Tony: Tell us about your experience Bob.
Bob: Well, I guess it all began about twelve years ago, I had been going to church and learning so much from our pastor (pause - emotional)
Tony: And then it happened?
Bob: Yes, I had been learning about ways to please God, when I noticed my friend Joe doing something that I thought wasn't right.
Gary: What did you say?
Bob: Oh, the usual line, "I can't believe you can call yourself a Christian. Why I wouldn't be caught dead doing something like that!"
Tony: How did it make you feel, Bob?
Bob: Really good at first. I thought I was helping Joe learn from his mistake.
Tony: But that's not what happened, was it?
Bob: No! He just gave me a dirty look and (pausing - emotional) stopped talking to me.
Tony: I think we can all agree that once a person gets a taste of self-righteousness, it's hard to quit.
(Agreement in the group)
Tony: Let's hear from someone else.
Sheila: Hi, I'm Sheila and I'm a recovering Pharisee.
Group: Hi Sheila!
Sheila: I've had a bad week, in fact less than an hour ago I found myself feeling self-righteous because I hadn't spent any money at the mall, while my friend Lisa practically maxed out her credit card. I wouldn't doubt it if she and her husband Jim have to go through bankruptcy - the ways she spends. I mean, it's hard to fathom what is going on in her mind. Why, I'd never do something like that. I....
Tony: (interrupts) Sheila?
Tony: What are some of the warning signed outlined in the Phar-A-Non handbook?
Sheila: Let's see, being critical of others. (Pause)
Tony: Go on.
Sheila: Pointing out faults, both to the person who has committed the error as well as making it known to others.
Tony: Anything else?
Sheila: (It finally dawns on Sheila that she has fallen in her recovery) Feeling superior to the person who you find fault in. Oh my, I'm so sorry. This has really been a bad week for me. (Dabs at her eyes with a handkerchief).
Tony: It's not wrong to recognize error in other people, but what happens to recovering Pharisee's is that they forget to confront the other person with an attitude of love - looking for ways to show how much you care for the other person. People like us who find it easy to be self-righteous mask our disease with phrases like, "sharing in love" and "asking for prayer for a friend". While those phrases sound spiritual, they often serve to gossip about someone else while attempting to make ourselves look better.
Lorraine: That is so true. I didn't realize how easy it is to hurt other people with just a quick slip of the tongue.
Tony: Lorraine is new to our meeting (directed at group) Tell us about yourself (directed at Lorraine).
Lorraine: My name is Lorraine and this is my first meeting. I guess you could say I've been a Pharisee all my life. It's a sickness I'd like to recover from.
Tony: Welcome Lorraine.
Lorraine: Thank you. (Pause) I had always heard the church was full of hypocrites. And I guess it is, because I've gone to church all my life and only recently came to understand that the words I spoke caused a lot of hurt and I actually found pleasure in telling people about it.
Tony: So, what brought you to Phar-A-Non?
Lorraine: My hair stylist Carol sent me.
(Group gets excited)
Tony: She founded our chapter.
Lorraine: I've never heard a hurtful word about anyone from her.
Tony: When she prays for her customers, she's also praying for the strength not to pass the gossip she hears everyday on to others.
Lorraine: (Astonished) Well, I'll be. You never would know it to look at her.
Tony: That's true, you often can't detect a self-righteous person until it's too late. And this disease affects most of us. So, what do we do to combat it?
Bob: Look for ways to encourage other people.
Sheila: Bite our tongue if we are tempted to say something that will make someone else look bad.
Tony: All right.
Lorraine: Pray for the people we are eager to talk about.
Tony: All good answers. But there's one more we should remember and that is that Jesus died and His death on the cross makes it possible for God to forgive our sins. Jesus doesn't say that an adulterer is in more need of forgiveness than someone who gossips. We are all sinners in the sight of God and once we recognize that fact, we can look at ourselves and others in a much clearer way. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness we don't deserve and yet it's available to us.
Knowing this fact alone makes it much easier for us to see that we are no more righteous than anyone else and that we too need God's forgiveness.
Bob: When you put it that way and I feel ashamed.
Sheila: Well, you should. (Embarrassed) Oh, sorry. Old habits die hard.
Tony: Anyone for cookies and punch?
Copyright Glenn Hascall, all rights reserved. This script may be used free
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