Sunday, October 28, 2007

Holier than thou - NOT

Read Luke 18:9-14

In this parable Jesus compares a Pharisee who thanks God that he is holier than the sinner next to him and the sinner who knows he is less holy than anyone. Of course the one who knows his sins and prays for mercy is put right with God and the one who thinks he needs no mercy is not.

Our worst response in reading the parable is to think "Thank God I'm not like that Pharisee." Because it would make us exactly like that Pharisee. We should not think we are better or holier than anyone regardless of appearance. One might feel superior to a murder, to a Muslim terrorist, or a Catholic priest who is in jail as a pedophile. While they may have done more evil things than we have, they are also children of God and salvation is available to them. We should be praying for their salvation not thanking God that we are better.

A more subtle problem is feeling like we are more holy than some other denomination of Christianity. Thinking that our church has a better knowledge of scripture or superior doctrine or more pleasing rituals. I think God is more interested in the fact that none of us is perfect and neither is any of our churches. We should be praying like the tax collector - for mercy. Then perhaps we would be able to heal the body of Christ on earth by praying for each other.

Lord God, forgive our failure to be what you want us to be. Bless us as we strive to be one body in your service. Amen.

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