Haughty Eyes and Candy Coated Arrogance

I am guilty of having haughty eyes. I admit it.  What about you? Are you a pharisee? If you are it is likely not intentional.  You are probably zealous and have misplaced your focus.  I admit it… I have some Pharisaical tendencies.  After being admonished recently for some of these “Pharisaical tendencies” of mine, I turned to the Bible and spent some time in prayer and introspection.  I thanked God for this member of the body of Christ who followed Matthew 18 to admonish and rebuke me.  I was defensive at first, but when someone rebukes you in love, one thing we have to do is examine ourselves.  So I did, and found that this person was bang on.  I was in fact sinning even though I did not realize it.  Oh how radically depraved I am that in my zeal to serve Christ I take my focus off him and sin.  I need him more than I can even begin to realize.


Let me quote Pastor Larry Osbourne:

The journey usually starts out innocently enough. It begins with a desire to be at the front of the “following Jesus” line. We step out in faith, make some big changes, clean up areas of sin and compromise, and begin to pursue new spiritual disciplines.

So far, so good. But as we press forward, it’s hard not to notice those who lag behind. And it’s at this point that we have an important decision to make: will we keep our eyes glued on Jesus or will we turn our focus onto those who lag behind? (Accidental Pharisees)

Is that me?  Let me quickly glance over some of…

my previous posts…


There it is…

I am an accidental pharisee.  Ouch.

Let’s read Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
         haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
         a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Right at the top of this list is “haughty eyes” or looking down on others.  I strive to be holy.  I strive to be at the “front of the following Jesus line.”  And it seems that the closer I get to the front, the more I am tempted to turn around and compare myself with those in the back of the line. Again.  …Ouch.  Where did I go wrong?

Larry Osbourne list’s 6 things to look out for that may indicate we may be headed down the road of becoming an accidental modern day pharisee, looking down on others and trusting in our own righteousness.



Instead of a Jesus-like compassion for those who can’t keep up, we view them with a deepening sense of frustration, cynicism, and a cocky arrogance.

Oh I want to help my brothers and sisters who struggle, but I admit that sometimes I am prone to this.  The sad thing is that at one point not that long ago I was not even in the line up to get in the line up to follow Jesus!  That line was so far ahead of me, that I could not see it, and if I did see it I would have rather gotten in line to the pub. So why should I have these feelings?  I should be so grateful for the mercy shown me that I am running to the back of the line and helping my brothers who are lagging behind.  I thought I was helping.  But isn’t it amazing how our hearts trick us?  What about you?


When thinning the herd becomes more important than expanding the kingdom; or raising the bar becomes more important than helping people climb over it, something has gone terribly wrong.

I had to think about this one.  While I do not think that I demonstrate this one, I have written posts that could be construed that way.  I am certainly doctrinally exclusive, most of us Reformed Christians are.  But that does not mean I believe that you are going to hell, if you hold to a differing view of eschatology or sanctification than me.


Few of us would see ourselves as legalists. We think we’ve moved on from old-school legalism because we no longer judge people by what’s in their refrigerator. But the spirit of legalism still runs strong. We now judge people by what’s in their driveway and how big their house is.

When I started reading #3, I thought, ok I got this one.  I do not place extra biblical rules on people…then I read the last sentence.  ugh. Guilty.  I tend to judge people when they spend money on what I deem as foolish things.  For example, if you spent $300 on a suit to wear for 2-3 hours per week at church …I would question it.  I can take 40 bucks to Value village and get 3 pairs of pants, 5 shirts and 6 ties…and still have money left over for lunch for the homeless guy, imagine what I could do with $300… Haughty eyes…I have to be careful.  I need to pray for humility.


Whether it’s the New Testament church or the scholars of old, we tend to give them a free pass for their failures. But the present-day bride of Christ and the current crop of leaders whom Jesus has put in place are assailed for their blind spots, failures, and feet of clay. Like the Pharisees of old, we rip on the living prophets and then build monuments to them once they die.

I should stop now. I am not going to win this game.  Guilty on this one as well. I typically do not rip on the elders, and I would never intentionally speak negatively of them.  I do understand that they are placed in their positions by God, and that they deserve our respect…but sometimes when I hear of an elder or deacon stumbling I get angry and say to myself…”what about the criteria!”  (and then I rebuke the person who told me for gossiping) We are all sinful, you, me, the elders, the pastor, I get that.  But there is something unsettling when an elder publicly fails. I am guilty of this to a point.


Jesus had room for Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Yet sometimes, the more biblically grounded we become, the less room we have for anyone who hasn’t yet learned all that we’ve learned. The result is a circle of fellowship that’s tighter than Jesus’s circle of acceptance.

Finally.  One I can score positive on ( I think) I do not expect everyone to love studying theology, or have them same tastes as me.    If we did, we would be a very one dimensional and boring church.  Go serve practically.


“Gift projection” the toxic belief that my calling is everyone else’s calling. It disfigures the body of Christ by insisting that ears become eyes and hands become feet. It looks like passion for the mission, but in reality, it’s candy-coated arrogance.

I have never hear of gift projection until now. …Candy coated arrogance.  I wish you all had the same passion for evangelism and holiness that I do.  Does that make me arrogant? I guess my harping on these things could be construed as arrogance, but only if I look down on you for not being like me.  Do I do that?  I am not saying we all need to be missionaries am I?

I veered from the path of discipleship, of being a well-intentioned zealot to an accidental modern day Pharisee. I am so thankful for the member of the body of Christ who called me on my sin.  This person opened my eyes to what I was doing and where I was headed.  This person followed Matthew 18 and won a brother over.  The communion of the saints is truly a beautiful thing.  Thank you to my sister, I am not sure if she realizes how thankful I am to her.

I admit that I had taken a step on the path of becoming puffed up and arrogant.  How I did I get there? I took my eyes off of Christ. My focus was not where it should have been, even though I “thought” it was. It was that simple.

Faith in Jesus Christ is first and foremost a confession that we are not good, that we are not clean, but filthy because of our sin.  It is admitting to God that only He can save us. It is believing that Jesus lived the only perfect life and is therefore worthy and able to take away our sins. And having thus begun, are we to go back now and think that we can live by merit? Absolutely not!

God hates haughty eyes.  God hates candy coated arrogance.  God hates pride.

How should we look at ourselves? With an understanding that we are sinners in need of a saviour. That we have no glory in ourselves. That we are separated from God and have value only in Him. That’s how we humble ourselves before a holy God. How should we look at others? When Jesus looked at people he was not filled with disdain, he did not make use of candy-coated arrogance. He was moved with compassion. When you see people to do you love them or do you criticize them? Do you talk to others about them so you will seem better than they? Or do you look for what is commendable? Do you build up your brother and sister or do you tear down? Do you look to Christ with faith and love, knowing that He has loved you and given up His life to save you and forgive you? When God looks in your eyes, what does He see? What kind of eyes do you have? Ask your self that, and I will ask myself as well.

Buy the book Accidental Pharisees   ~Larry Osbourne

All quotes are from the article 6-warning-signs-were-becoming-accidental-pharisees by Larry Oabourne

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. Hi, after reading this amazing article i am too happy to share
    my know-how here with friends.