We’ve already heard four ways to be holier than thou from our Pharisee coaches at the Holy Roller Pharisee Consultancy (see below for links). But here are two more ways to be holier than thou out of John chapter 9…
[highlight class=”highlight_yellow” style=””]5) Motivate people with fear[/highlight]
Coupled with the culture of betrayal is the helpful step to motivate people with fear. People may be motivated by all kinds of altruistic intentions, but these all take a great deal of time and effort of explanation for someone who wants to be holier than thou. Our Pharisee executive coaches knew this, and made some fear-based decisions, as we see in v22: “His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.” If we want to be holier than thou we have to use fear as a motivator. It is effective and fast at producing the results we want. If people don’t fear us how can we truly be holier than thou? They might mock us to our faces. That wouldn’t be right!
[highlight class=”highlight_yellow” style=””]6) Cloud things with religiosity[/highlight]
Some of the above steps may seem pretty straightforward and Machiavellian. But we must be more nuanced than those of the world if we want to be holier than thou. The Pharisees, our experts on this subject, show us the way when they cloud things with religiosity. If we just advance our ideas and beat others it won’t achieve that true holier than thou effect. “‘Give glory to God by telling the truth,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’” (v24) We have to ensure that spiritual language and churchy prayers cloud our tactics. This will distract from the very worldly aims we have in our hearts. This is not difficult to do—and our Pharisee consultants would suggest that we watch TV preachers and practice in the mirror to get it right. Speaking this “Christianese” will cloud things well. Say things like “The Lord told me . . .” or even “the Lord laid it on my heart.” When sharing how horrible someone else is, say “I covet your prayers as I deal with them.” Use adjectives like biblical and inspired to describe your position. Use adjectives like abhorrent behavior or divisive talk to describe your opponent. (See how easily you can actually perform a divisive function by accusing someone of disrupting your unified front?) This is upper level holier than thou stuff from our Pharisee consultants. I hope you’re appreciating it![divider type=”dots”]
*Just in case it’s not obvious, this entire piece is satirical and inexcusably sarcastic. But perhaps our Pharisaical ways need a little poking fun at from time to time, eh?