February 16, 2018
9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The 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. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13“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.’
14“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.”
Pride is a subtle sin. It is not always easy to detect in our own lives. Jesus got this so he gave us a picture of pride and humility with two characters in this parable. The Pharisee modeled pride and the tax collector humility.
In pride the Pharisee refuses to admit he has a need. Conversely the tax collector, recognizing his need of forgiveness, beat his chest and humbly pleaded for mercy.
Pride sees the problem with others and is happy to point out their faults. The humble man owns his own sin, brokenness and faults. Humility is not self-deprecation, but owning our need and dependence upon God’s mercy. It is the ability to own our brokenness and even our God given limitations and dependence upon others.
The focus of pride is earning our righteousness before others or convincing ourselves we are “good enough.” Humility on the other hand accepts that we are sinners and desperate for God’s redeeming love. The prideful heart is reactive and unreceptive. Humility accepts help and is receptive to love.
Father, reveal to me where I am prideful and reactive rather than receptive to your love. Help me to see the limitations you’ve given me and accept the goodness of my gifts. Help me too to turn from sin and accept the transforming power and love of your Spirit to pursue holiness and peace with others.