Sunday morning I was on the receiving end of a reprimand. I wasn't the only one. You had to be there, sitting in the pews. The sermon was over and it was time for the Lord's Supper. Our pastor, who clearly loves to feed the sheep of his pasture, had determined we were in need of a strong reprimand.
Love one another, forgive one another, be patient with one another, do not despise one another, do not gossip about one another, get to know one another, have grace with one another...
As the tears flowed down my cheeks, I opened my Bible to a familiar passage:
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." ~Luke 18:9-14At various times and in the midst of various circumstances, I find myself turning to this passage to remind myself that I am not the tax collector, but rather that I am a pharisee.
Shame on me.
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" ~Matthew 7:3Like the tax collector, I have nothing more to say than, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"