He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 ESV)
Sometimes we act like the Pharisees in Jesus’ days. We think that because we go to church, say the right things, read good books, watch movies that a wholesome, we are righteous. Actually we are not. Who makes us righteous is Jesus and our faith in Him. We are saved by grace through faith, not by what we do or say (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Although I do my very best to do and say the right things each and every day, I always fall short. Mostly I judge people in my head. If I see a woman or man that I believe are not properly clothed, I judge them by thoughts like “He/she should not go in public like this! Her dress is way too short! His pants are too low!”. Really those thoughts I need to stop; it is not my place to judge that way because I may have a different opinion on clothes.
I love the parable Jesus told the ones that thought of them to be righteous and treating others with contempt. Jesus made it very clear that if we exalt ourselves, we will be humbled (not maybe, but we will). It may not be today or tomorrow, but at some time, we will be humbled because we exalted ourselves.
In Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) we read this:
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
This Proverbs was one of the many my dad ingrained in us girls. I think that this verse goes hand-in-hand with what Jesus was telling the Pharisees. Don’t ‘toot your own horn’ so to speak, lest you will be humbled at some point.
Lord of mercy and grace. Help me to be humble before You and before man. I know that I am not righteous, but sometimes I need a gentle reminder through Your Word. I know that I am no better than the person next to me. Lord, by Your grace, may I not become prideful, because in me there is nothing good. I am trusting in Your mercy. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen
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