Some of us look down our noses at others, thinking we are better and quietly growing our pride. The truth is that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Jesus says if we are humble, we will be exalted and if we are exalting ourselves, we will be humbled…
9 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
13 “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Some people around Jesus trusted in themselves and their own righteousness, viewing other (more sinful) people around them with contempt. Good thing that doesn’t happen today… er…
Okay, so this would be relevent to most of us then… We often think similar things. As long as I am just a little better than my neighbour. As long as I am not like that person… And we take our confidence, quite often, in that balance of the scales tipping in our favour. Some of us take this to the degree of looking down our noses, while others use it to quietly grow our pride.
The tax collector in our story knew his rightful place in the economy of God. He knew that he was a sinner who needed God’s mercy. The truth is that all of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our posture and stance before God should, therefore, be humble. We need God’s mercy.
If we are humble, we will be exalted and if we are exalting ourselves, we will be humbled. That’s Jesus’ promise to us.
How do you view yourself and others today? Paul writes in 2Corinthians 5:16, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” Stop thinking of others from a worldly point of view. And stop thinking of yourself this way also. Worldly ideas of righteousness and comparison only puff us up to think more of ourselves than we should and less of those whom we should love…