“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 (justify - make themselves feel and look better) will be humbled, and those who humble (are honest with themselves about their own goodness) themselves will be exalted.” [Emphasis added]. Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
Two days ago we looked at this very same verse. I believe today, there is more we can learn from it.
This pharisee was hyper-critical of the tax collector. All He could do was point out his failures and shortcomings. The pharisee used the tax collector as a measuring tool to make himself feel better or “gooder.” Instead of seeing him as someone that had value and worth and lost their way, he used this man as an opportunity to make himself feel better. This is what hypocrisy is all about - Me feeling better about me. Me pushing others down, so I can lift myself up. Me speaking the right things, but doing the wrong things. Me wearing a mask instead of being real. Me hiding my sin and failures from others and forfeiting the compassion and help they would offer. Me denying my own weakness and missing out on the life and love Jesus promises. He was being hypo-critical instead of hyper-compassionate.
People are not meant to be measured but treasured! But that’s what we do, we measure them against our own standards of what we think is good and bad and when we do this, we put ourselves in the place of God. And yet God doesn’t want to measure us, He wants to treasure us and wants us to treasure others.
Lord Jesus forgive me when I measure people in order to lift myself up. Thank you for your forgivness and grace toward me. Help me to show this same love and grace to those around me. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will treasure people the way they were created to be. Amen!