Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thoughts for Sunday

One of the abiding themes of these past few years is that I've learned a lot more than I've become.

This causes lots of problems. I suppose it used to be easy for me to look down on people who were not like me. More than that, I guess they were invisible to me. Now I "know" not to do that anymore. So am I less self-righteous? No, now I look down on people who look down on people. Or to put it another way, I look down on people who remind me of me. My arrogance is not lessened; it is only displaced.

There is something particularly nasty about that.
Jesus told a story to some people who were sure they were right with God. They looked down on everybody else. He said to them, “Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee. The other was a tax collector.

“The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people,’ he said. ‘I am not like robbers or those who do other evil things. I am not like those who commit adultery. I am not even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. And I give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood not very far away. He would not even look up to heaven. He beat his chest and said, ‘God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner.’

“I tell you, the tax collector went home accepted by God. But not the Pharisee. Everyone who lifts himself up will be brought down. And anyone who is brought down will be lifted up.”
There are several ways of responding to this. You can realize you're too much like the Pharisee and humble yourself. You can identify with the tax collector. Or you can do it like I do, say "God, I thank you that I am not like that Pharisee" and miss the point entirely.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh.. the consequence of being human. It's so hard to get it right. I guess we need to be saved from ourselves--a good application of grace and mercy.