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Dealing with our Inner Pharisee

pharisee“Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. ‘Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.’” (Luke 18:9-14)

Which person are we in this story? I have a friend who once reminded me that not all the Pharisees were blinded by their self-righteousness. Not all of them failed to recognize that the One whom they so often sought to correct was God Incarnate. My friend is correct. The Pharisees were a part of a genuine religious reform movement which sought to bring faithful Jews back to living the fullness of the Law of Moses, precisely so that they could witness to the truth of God’s loving plan to others.

Read more at The Stream.

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