Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble…

August 20th, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Mark Shoup

Today’s scripture: Luke 18:9-14 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

Oh, those terrible Pharisees! Always praying in public, making a spectacle of how pious they are. Always lamenting about how weak they are from their fasts and bragging about how much they are contributing in their tithes! Why can’t they be more like us; humble and theologically correct? Oh, if they could only see how wrong they were…

It’s easy to see, when it is put like that, that I am not being humble. I am, in fact, playing the exact same role that the Pharisees I am condemning have played. But maybe there are times when we lapse into “exalt ourselves” mode that we aren’t even aware of. I know I do it. I do it each time I point out how I think my church has all the right answers and the religious “right” is wrong and they had better hope for more grace for themselves than they have showed others in the past.

It is a difficult habit to get out of, since it is almost second nature to draw strength from oppressing those who don’t agree with your theology. Nothing rallies the troops like vilifying a common enemy. But the real challenge is to take that attitude and substitute it with one of humble love.

Instead of getting on my soapbox about the evils of whichever religious figure is preaching against me, what if I prayed to have compassion and understanding for them? I still might not agree with them, but I might come to accept that they have a right to their opinion, and I might still love them on a human level.

And even though no one else might see it, by doing so I have won. And more than that, I have won God’s justification.

Thought for the day: God, help me to be humble in my attitudes — even toward those who persecute me.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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