Luke 18:14 – For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted. (NRSV)
While I was studying at the Vancouver School of Theology, I attended a Bible study at Richmond Presbyterian Church that fielded a fascinating question. We were talking about the opposition from the Pharisees that Jesus faced during his ministry. Then the leap to the present was made: "Who are the Pharisees of our day?" The group immediately started to name one group of people or another, ranging from politicians, to religious extremists, and even upstanding pillars of the community. I hadn't really thought about it, but when it was my turn, I paused for a moment, and said, "Sometimes, I get up in the mornings, look in a mirror, and see a Pharisee staring back at me."
I drew a few odd glances, but fortunately I was given a chance to explain myself. The Pharisees studied and adhered to the Law, kept the commandments, and did all that they perceived was good in God's sight. But their self-righteousness is a danger we all face. We too can become so convinced that we are right in our ways that we tend to shut out and dismiss (if not get angry at) other people. How often have we looked at other Christians, other denominations, conservative or liberal, and crossed our arms and frowned?I don't think the Pharisee in my mirror will go away simply because I happened to catch of glimpse of him one day. He'll still be with me for as long as I'm breathing. So, the next time you get up in the morning and look in the mirror, look carefully for the Pharisee staring back.
Prayer: Most Holy God, in our eagerness to follow You, we have presumed to know Your will. We stray into our own self-righteousness. Strengthen us that we may truly know ourselves, and in humility reflect Your love in our lives, made known to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.