Posts Tagged 'Being Humble'

Pride and Humility


            “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18: 10-14.)


            The Pharisees were the rigid religious leaders of the day.  They loathed sinners, and they loathed the impure.  They became angry when they heard that Jesus was eating with sinners (those who didn’t behave in Godly ways.)  The tax-collectors earned a living by cheating the people.  A tax-collector survived off of whatever amount of money they charged above the normal taxes.  So they were seen as traitors and thieves.  This was an illustration about humility.  The Pharisee believed that because he had done so many good things, he was righteous.  The tax collector however, feared God, and held God in high esteem; he couldn’t even lift his eyes up toward God, and was angry with himself for not having measured up to God’s standards.  In his reverence he asked God to show him mercy.  The one who was a screw-up was more acceptable to God than was the person who had been doing all of the right things, because the screw-up honored God and not himself.  One man exalted God, the other man exalted himself.  Jesus said the one who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

            In high school, I never liked to run in track; I pole-vaulted, but I never liked to run.  I avoided it like the plague.  I knew I wasn’t that fast of a sprinter, and I didn’t want anyone to see my weakness.  One time my coach told me I had to run or I would get kicked off of the team.  Everyone had to run, and it became common knowledge that I was disobeying the coach.  When I eventually ran, I lost horribly; someone later told me, “I heard Triganowen beat you,” some sophomore kid who wasn’t a starter on the football team.  Man did I feel less than low.  I was prideful, just like the Pharisee in this scripture.  Interestingly enough, on that same track team there was a boy named ‘Billy.’  He was mentally disabled.  He could run, but he couldn’t run fast.  His parents would drop him off for practice.  He wore coke-bottle glasses and had buck teeth.  He couldn’t carry on a conversation very well either.  He was an oddity to most people, because he showed up every day, and he worked hard to run faster.  He practiced to improve his speed even though it was at a snail’s pace; we knew he would never place in any race, but he would run for a different reason.  One day, the word went out, Billy was running in an event.  He ran, and as he did, people began to gather, and run beside him, and cheer him on.  The other teams were looking over at all of the excitement, but they didn’t understand what was happening.  This one little kid had an effect on my heart and on everyone on our team in a way that none of us had had on each other.  I now know that it was the humility in Billy that we were honoring.  Because he was weak but tried his best, we honored him.

            We as well as Christians should show similar humility.  We should never be focused on our own righteousness or on how good we are compared with others because in the end we are all nothing next to the righteousness of God.  We can’t honor God and honor ourselves at the same time.  God honors those who are humble, and he humbles those who are full of pride and self-righteousness.  Be the humble person.  Remember how merciful God has been to you, a ‘lowly sinner.’  Think of how Great God’s love for you is, in that, while you were still a sinner he died for you, and you will know the love and the joy of an all powerful God living within your heart.

            “Father, if there are areas of self-righteousness in us, we ask that You please reveal them and remove them from us.  Help us to lift you up, and to honor You and put You in the place of honor in our lives.  Help us also Lord, to not look down on the others, but to reach out to them in love.  We thank You Father, we love You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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