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Don't be a snob

Jesus also told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else. “Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. I fast two days a week, and I give you a tenth of all my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, ‘God, have pity on me, a sinner!’ I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For all who make themselves great will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be made great.”

Luke 18 : 9 - 14 (GNB)

This week reminds us of the importance of keeping our egos in check. We see in this story two very different people.

The first person is your textbook 'goodie two-shoes' a Pharisee (religious leader). He went to great lengths to follow the law and do everything he was supposed to. As well as this he also wanted to make sure everyone else knew it. He liked to put on a show to make sure everyone else knew how much better he was than them.

Whereas the second person was a tax collector (so in many peoples opinion a thief). He knew what people thought of him, he knew he was unpopular and that his life was far from perfect. However he was willing to admit it and say sorry.

Both men were asking God for forgiveness but Jesus tells us that only one would be forgiven by God. To the surprise of the crowd the one God chose to forgive was the tax collector. Why was this? Was this because out of the two men the tax collector clearly needed more forgiveness?

Well no, their differing levels of sin wasn't the problem. The deciding factor was the attitudes of the two men. The Pharisee was being very snobby and proud. Even when asking for forgiveness he was still boasting about how good he was, he was playing to the crowd, going through an ego fuelled ritual rather than truly saying sorry.

Whereas the tax collector was being truthful, genuine and humble. He recognised his mistakes and the authority of God. He knew that he did not deserve forgiveness, but trusted in the generosity and grace of God. His respect and humble attitude is why God forgave him.

This week don’t put on an ego show or be a snob with God. Be honest and genuine, as this is what he is really after. Have a great week.

This week's song is At Your Name by Worship Central.

Header image by: beermug via FreeImages