Am I a sinner or a saint? What about you?
This thought came to my mind this morning after reading this phrase in the bible.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18: 9-14
Two people with different lifestyles, who can be easily judged from their outward appearances and by their deeds. One looks holy and do holy things, the other looks like a sinner and do sinful things. Which would we prefer? Or whom we could compare us with? I didn’t want to be neither of them, but……..
The holy one was boastful and judgmental. He thought that he was holy enough and did not need forgiveness. He trusted on his holy works to save him. He was boastful. In addition, he looked down on those that were not doing holy things as he thought he did.
The tax collector was humble and had a repentant heart. He knows that he sinned against God and asked for mercy. To be forgiven. Couldn’t even look at God.
Lord, how about me? I asked. How about you? I am asking. Are we like the Pharisee or the tax collector? Because, as much as we denied, I think we can be both.
How, you might ask?
Well, how do we feel for those who denied God’s existence, curse him and blame him for all the troubles of this world?
How do we feel for those people who commits adultery? Evildoers who abuse small children or exploit them?
Those corrupt leaders who steal from the people. How about the murderer? Those who kill to gain power and so on. Liars and robbers?
To be totally honest, I am disgusted of those people. Questions like “ How could they do such a thing?” Judging them. But, I think that I am not alone who feels that way. How about you? Maybe we are like the Pharisee too? Looking down on those bad people in our eyes. Hating them at the most. Disgusted. Maybe we want to make them suffer too in our minds or do some dramatic things to take revenge.
On the other hand, I feel like the tax collector too. A sinner. I say things that I should not be saying. Not careful with my words is one of the things that I might be doing that is not right in the eyes of God. God sees my heart and knows what kind of sin that I am capable of doing. Being judgmental like the Pharisee. God call it sin. Not only I judge others, but I judge myself too. Feeling that I am not good enough. Maybe you feel like that way I do? And that shoudn’t be.
We can just admit that we too sin against God, not only once, but many times. Sins that does not show in our outward appearances. Sin that lurks in our minds and our hearts, just waiting the right opportunity to strike? Maybe some steal time from their employers? Doing facebooking, texting messages or blogging when one is at work? How about driving faster than the law requires in some areas? How about laughing at someone’s handicaps? Saying white lies? Gossiping? Murmuring? Cursing? Lusting? If we do some of these things, we don’t have the right to judge. And if we are not doing some of these things, we don’t have the right to judge either. Am I right?
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3
So who are we? A sinner or a saint? Probably, your wish is like me. To be a saint. But…..
Lord, forgive us for being judgmental like the Pharisee. What others are doing is not our business. We don’t know what it is in their hearts and have no right to judge. It is your job. Lord, thank you that like the tax collector, we too can ask for forgiveness if we sin against you. That is for sure. But we rely on your promise that “If we confess our sins, you are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. ( 1 John 1:9).
Help us to see others with your eyes. See ourselves with your eyes. Fill our hearts with desires to your words, to purify our thoughts. To be a law abiding citizen. Let us follow your love and goodness so that we can help, comfort, love and forgive one another. To seek your kingdom first before everything else, so that everything will be added unto us. Be our shepherd so that that we shall not be in want. Guide us in the paths of righteousness. Be our light, so we will not be in darkness. In Jesus name I pray.
Thought to consider: Sin is easy to point out- except when it’s our own.