To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody 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 up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men - 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 everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
My Father in Heaven,
Holy is Your name. There is no God like You in heaven or earth. I am unworthy to come into Your awesome presence. I come humbly, to the Most Holy Place as a despised and despicable person in need of divine mercy. Unable to face You, I bow down, crying out, "Have mercy on me, a sinner!" I lift my hands to You, Lord, to show my desperate need for grace!
Lord, forgive me for all the times I am full of myself like the Pharisee. I trust in my own abilities. I look down on others with contempt and disrespect. It makes me sick to think of how haughty and proud I can be of my accomplishments and myself. My heart is deceitful above all things. It is beyond cure!
Please give me a gentle and quiet spirit. Make my heart humble and teachable. With an attitude of gratitude, I will :
Please dear Lord, teach me wisdom so that I can humbly honor You. Then, I will experience Your glory and say along with the psalmist, "Not to me, O Lord, not to me, but to Your name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness." Justify me through Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Pride gets the best of everyone from time to time. Take off pride today and put on humility before you fall. Proverbs 16:18
In what ways are you like the Pharisees? Some times I think I am absolutely right about what the Bible says, and others are off track. Unopen to dialogue, I come across as arrogant like the religious leaders. However, God is teaching me to talk tentatively. No one is absolutely right about their theology. I am learning to say things like, "This is what I believe, and I reserve the right to be wrong ... how do you see it?" Asking for others' perspective doesn't mean that I agree with them. Instead it builds trust and opens the door for further discussion. It demonstrates humility.
I haven't mastered the skill, but am moving in the right direction. Thanks be to God who is ever at work conforming my heart and mind to be more like Jesus'.