Luke 18:9-14 starts out, “Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else…” Don’t miss who he’s talking to. Jesus is talking to someone who believed that they were better than somebody else, someone who thought they were righteous and judged other people as beneath themselves.
We see this played out over and over. In yesterday’s blog about the police officer burning the homeless man’s belongings, in the people in the churches I preached a “revival” in who believe an alcoholic who has been drinking on Sunday morning shouldn’t be coming to church, and so on. We all have a little Pharisee in us. I look down on the police officer, I look down on the judgmental Christian, and so on. In his book, Thank God I’m Not a Pharisee… Or Am I?, John Elzinga says, “What is obvious is that nobody wants to become a Pharisee; but the reality is that we do so without realizing it. It is really quite an easy thing to become a Pharisee.”
It’s like the humility quote, “Just when I begin to believe I’m getting really humble, I have to start over.” When we start to believe we’re better than others, when we start judging others, when we begin to think Jesus is lucky to have us on His team, that’s when the Pharisee in us is rearing it’s ugly head. That’s when we’d better go back to the throne of grace and repent.