Two men went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood there and prayed thus, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all I possess” (Luke 18:9-14). You could stop and preach, right here. Is it not so, that you hear this kind of attitude and spirit, right here on Facebook, every day?
It is not exactly the same words, but the spirit behind it shouts out anyway. The other man, whom others looked so down upon, had a different prayer.
Kris Kristofferson sang a song, years back now, with words that said, “Lord help me Jesus, I know what I am.” Some of us are heartless. We don’t have a clue what some people’s lives are; we have no idea where they’ve come from, or how much it cost them to get there. We assume, as this self-righteous person did, that these “others,” never talk to God. We claim to know their heart and declare, that they could not possibly love God in any way. Is it out of order, to say that Jesus was not overly fond of self-righteousness!
The other man knew what he was. He did not even raise his head to the heavens, but smote his breast and said, “Lord, please have mercy on me, a sinner.”
We fail to realize sometimes that there was only One person whom God ever created, that did not have weaknesses and shortcomings. He is the only one who never sinned. Envy, is a deadly sin. Gossiping, is a sin. Backbiting, is a sin. Coveting what other people have, is a sin. Not being grateful for what you do have, is a sin. Pointing fingers at over folks, is a sin. Knowing there are good things you could do, and not doing them, is a sin. To judge others, even without knowing the full story, is also a sin. Thinking you are something, when you’re not, is a sin. The list goes on.
Not searching for lost sheep who are missing, is a big transgression. Not restoring people, is too. Many say, oh, I don’t do that, or I would never be like them; I’m this and I’m that, and we don’t do such things.
If we religious people should learn one thing, it might be, to stop talking about and saying things about something, of which we have no first-hand knowledge. It is one thing to be judgmental; it’s another to judge something we know nothing about.
If only God can see the heart, what can we see with our poor natural eyes?
Justified means, free of blame; free of guilt and penalty. Jesus said, that the so-called lesser man, went home justified; and greatly so. If there ever was a verse that should be quoted or shouted from the housetop today, it might be this one. “Everyone that exalteth himself, shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.”
It’s easy to see how Christ’s teachings, confused and crossed up some people. We need to stop saying, that other people could not possibly love God; because they don’t measure up to our yard stick. The truth is, the Pharisees, don’t even know the publicans, at all.