"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...'"
As I prayed with this Gospel over the weekend (it was actually Saturday's Gospel) I realized something, possibly, worth sharing. The Pharisee's prayer was really quite cringe-worthy, indeed. But I think if we step back and look at it, the real problem with the prayer is that the Pharisee compared himself to his fellow pray-er in the first place. We all do it--it's human nature to compare ourselves with others. We either see others as further ahead, up the ladder, or we see others behind us and that gives us a puffed up feeling--don't we love that? Sure we do! We're human! But comparing ourselves to others is really a form of un-just judging. We are either unfairly judging others or unfairly judging ourselves...neither are what God wants for us. We may be shocked by the Pharisee's puffed up prayer; Jesus was known for using shockingly obvious examples for simpler truths. But what we can learn from this is not to compare ourselves to anyone else. To keep our prayerful eyes on God, like the humble tax collector, and say honestly, "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner, no better or worse than anyone else. (v. 13, but I added the last part.) Blessings on your March Monday! Love, heidi