Pride, Humility and Relationship with God

Jesus taught in parables to enable His listeners to more easily understand important concepts that may cut close to home.  In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus teaches us about pride and humility in a way that all of us can understand.

It seems that a Pharisee and a tax-collector were in the temple to pray.  The Pharisee stood up and prayed in a way that was giving thanks to God for making him better than everyone else.  He lists the extra things he did, above and beyond the requirements of the Law in a way that would shame other people.  The tax-collector, off at a distance, with head bowed simply asked God to have mercy on him.  Jesus ended the story with by pointing out that the lowly tax-collector was the one who was justified before God; that only those who humble themselves will be exalted before God and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. (v. 14)

I could be mistaken, but it seems to me that the Pharisee in the story had no idea that he needed God’s mercy because all he could think of was how great he was; and maybe he was in a sense.  If his conduct was really so righteous as he claimed, he was behaving better than most everyone else, but there was one problem.  Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography wrote about a self-improvement project that he entered into as a young man.  He made a list of virtues, and every day he made a mark next to the virtue that he felt he had fallen short of that day.  The idea was that he would work very hard the next day to correct his behavior.  The problem that he found himself running into was that on the days that he didn’t fall short in any other virtue, he was so proud of himself that he fell way short in “Humility.”  Franklin reports that he soon abandoned the project.

It isn’t surprising that a Pharisee who came face to face with Jesus would reject Him as Messiah when He taught about mercy.  Apparently they had no understanding that they needed mercy, so wonderful was their behavior…

May we be quick to humble ourselves that we never become modern-day Pharisees!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Pride, Humility and Relationship with God

  1. Pieter Stok says:

    Don, you have touched on one of my main concerns about western middle class Christianity – pharisaical smugness. Well said.

  2. Pingback: Humility before exaltation | daily meditation

  3. Denine Taylor says:

    I know another who points and accuses our brothers and sisters. Rev 12:10 Not one I care to be identified with.

  4. vw1212 says:

    Beautiful provisions. vw

  5. Too late! Many Christians putting themselves forward as the public face of the church are already modern day Pharisees. This does a grave disservice to the faith, since many non-Christians find the hypocrisy and self-righteousness repugnant.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s