Have you ever retold the story in a way that accentuated your part a little more than was real?
Or maybe you kept a few of the details out of the story that would have kept others from thinking anything less than “you are quite spectacular”.
Why do we put forth something that isn’t the truth? It seems to me that it is pretty clearly a combination of pride and fear. We want people to think a certain way about us whether it is true or not. We have things we want to appear to be and we have another set of things that we don’t want people to know about us.
- I want to come across as humble but awesome.
- I want to be really good looking but for people to think I never consider my looks.
- I want to be a deep thinker and really funny.
- I want to be better than everyone else but make them feel that I would never have that thought cross my mind.
Who would ever admit to such thoughts? Hmmm…
Jesus never once pretended to be something that he wasn’t. He wasn’t a hypocrite. He knew who He was and not once did He act in a way that was contrary to his true identity or character. Jesus did not tell people one thing and then act in a different way. His words, his actions and the content of His heart were always in complete harmony.
Jesus intrudes into our lives to set us free from the prison of hypocrisy. If we choose to live our lives based on appearances there will never be any lasting confidence or assurance that we are OK. The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that our God is well aware of the fact that we are far from perfect. Yet, in spite of this, He still claims us as His own when we stop competing or comparing and instead express thankfulness and praise that we are set free to be just who God created us to be – grace loving followers of Jesus.
We are invited by Luke to hear Jesus’ teaching on the position that comes our way when we don’t think too highly of ourselves and instead bask in the amazing love of God. Jesus wants us to be filled with the joy of our salvation – what a gift from God!
- Luke 18.9-14 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.”
From one mercy recipient to another,