The Talmud (Yer. Sotah, 20c, Sotah, 20b) speaks of seven different kinds of Pharisee; the “shoulder Pharisee”, “wait-a-bit Pharisee”, “reckoning Pharisee”, “economizing Pharisee”, “show-me-my-fault Pharisee”, “Pharisee of fear”, an the “Pharisee of love.”
Each category of the above taxonomy is representative of a manner in which one deals with one’s sin problem. I think that we in the western church are most prone to the errors of the reckoning Pharisee. When the reckoning Pharisee commits a fault and then follows it with a good deed, he “crosses off one with the other, instead of repenting.”
There is a strange absence of repentance in the western church. We will do almost anything rather than repent. We will pray, preach, sing, serve, give, sacrifice, worship, attend, lead, bake, wash, scrub, paint, … — almost anything rather than repent. Our theology may tell us that the performance of a good deed does not “cross off one with the other.” However, this seems to be an integral part of our spiritual reckoning.
Lord God, I ask that you make me conscious of my sin, and grant me repentance that I might rise and serve you with clean hands. Even now . . .