Spiritual Poems: Pharisee in Me

By Jill Briscoe


Thoughts from Matthew 5:3-11

One day I found within my heart

someone who’d been there from the start.

A prudish person—self appointed,

self sufficient—self anointed.

Though I, a true disciple be

I’ve met the Pharisee in me!

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Oh, Lord, I pray hard on my way

I try to do it every day

A publican to be I try

and beat my breast and sigh and cry

I’m hoping others round will see—

oops—there’s the Pharisee in me!

Blessed are those who mourn

He sees not why his heart should bow.

Instead he’s holier than thou.

He casts the mote out of your eye,

while beam in his obscures the why

a tear be shed because of sin

or why he should begin again

Forgive me, Lord, the sin you see,

I’ve met the Pharisee in me!

Blessed are the meek

He’s there as I start out my week

advising me that meek is weak.

he’s up before me every day,

to figure out a better way

than following Him submissively.

I’ve met the Pharisee in me!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness

He tells me, “Oh, you know enough

just keep on with the same old stuff—

you’ve books galore and tapes to lend,

No need to learn theology - ”

 I’ve met the Pharisee in me!

Blessed are the merciful

He passes people every day

Who’ve lost their innocence some way.

He says a prayer for those poor fools,

for breaking his religious rules

“No time for mercy now,” says he,

“at Bible study I must be.”

Blessed are the pure in heart

He laughs when told of a pure heart,

And wants no parcel or no part

of  looking in and seeing sin

When such a perfect man he’s been.

He spends his life in holy work

and never quits and never shirks.

He shines the outside of his cup,

and knows not that he’ll finish up

in dungeon deep, in hell’s abyss—

cause God condemns a man like this!

Blessed are the peacemakers

The father reasons with the son

that mercy and forgiveness won…

the offending brother be restored

that retribution be outlawed,

that loving welcome be extended,

instead the Pharisee’s offended.

He wants the boy to crawl, you see,

I’ve met the Pharisee in me.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness

The Pharisee reviles the one

who tries to follow God’s dear son.

He persecutes the witness who

confesses Christ his whole life through.

He murders life when e’er he finds

disciples who with peace of mind,

refuse to cower or bow the knee,

to him –the Pharisee in me.

I know the Lord rebukes my guest

in scathing words, at God’s behest.

He tells me ”heed his words of strife

and realize he saps your life.”

He hates to share my heart, you see,

with him, the Pharisee in me.

And why should He the God of grace

be forced to live here face to face

with him who hung Him up to die

against an angry, anguished sky—

who pierced His feet and crowned His head,

who laughed, and left Him very dead?

Forgive me, Lord, I beg of Thee,

deal with the Pharisee in me!

.   .   .   .   .

Oh Lord, we pray for eyes to see

a judge who’s fair, a Trinity

who’d have us lay our bias down

and quit the prejudicial frown.

When we’re in heaven and take our place

and look for some familiar face

and realize He’s long


the people who

we’ve long rejected

Then help us not to make a fuss

When we see they’re not

Expecting us!


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