It’s always easy to compare ourselves to others, isn’t it?
Sometimes we put ourselves up on a pedestal, seeing ourselves as better than others. Honestly–who hasn’t at least once blamed other drivers for being “the problem,” when the reality is we’re also right there contributing to the heavy traffic!
Other times, we may see others as up on that pedestal, which can lead us to try to “keep up with the Joneses.”
Both of these comparisons lead us away from the truth — everyone suffers from “soul sickness.”
From Pastor Aaron: “Sin is an illness that affects every human being. It is the sickness of our souls that results in individual moral failures and behavior but can also extend to social scales where collective sin results in systems of oppression and abuse. By looking at the story of the Pharisee and Tax Collector today, we saw evidence of both in two very different responses to God.
In essence, we revolt against the way of God and choose our way. But through the grace of God and the work of Jesus in our lives we can be healed of the brokenness that sin has created. This is what Paul calls full restoration, that our souls can be made well. However, we have to participate in our own healing.”
- Have you ever compared yourself to others, either as superior to them, or inferior?
- We like to “look good” to other people, but why are we often tempted to put only our “best selves” before God, as this Pharisee did?
- Have you ever felt similarly to the tax collector? What led you to that place?
- If you’ve heard the gospel before, you might not be surprised that the tax collector was the one justified by God. But think of someone today whom you would be shocked to hear was given God’s mercy.
- If Jesus were telling this story today, who might he use as his two characters?
Give yourself permission to do nothing for a few moments today. In the open space, what might the Holy Spirit be bringing to your heart through this parable?