Jesus told a story one day to “some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9 ESV).
Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector” (Luke 18:11 NIV84).
Notice the list, from robbers to tax collectors. Seems like some kind of progression, right? The bottom line is when I want to think better of myself, it helps to have a list of all the things I’m not. Let’s be brutally honest…this listing exercise is a diversionary tactic. As long as we can keep the focus on them, no one is looking at us.
It’s hilarious that the Pharisee would pray this way, and that he “stood up” to do it. What an obnoxious sense of pride and arrogance. Probably cleared his throat, “Eh hem.” Then he proceeded to “pray about himself.” Jesus is making this story up, and it’s dripping with sarcasm.
I’m pretty sure he imitated…Continue Reading