To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ ‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. - Luke 18:9-14
Dear Jesus, with this simple story of a spiritual giant (the tax collector), and a religious dwarf (the Pharisee), you put holy fear in me of becoming self-righteous. I fear because I not only have looked down on people who have repetitive public sins, but I have also looked down on the Pharisee, because I am sure I have not looked down on others as much as he. Oh Jesus, if I am honest with myself, I look down on everyone for one reason or another at different times. I struggle with the damning sin of self-righteousness. Oh, please forgive my sin and purify my heart from thinking I am any different than the rest of fallen humanity. Be my Savior and light the way out of my dark and lonely cave of self-righteousness. Help me to truly esteem all others better than myself. AMEN
The one sin I am proud to have never committed is the sin of looking down on others, or so I thought!
Additional Reading: Philippians 2:1-11, James 1:27, Jeremiah 31:16-20