One of the things I struggle with is seeing the faults in others and then smugly telling myself that I am better than that. “Thank goodness I am not as dumb as that stupid idiot” is something I will find myself thinking from time to time.
It seems to be a problem in the world today as well. The logic seems to be “I am right- you are wrong. Therefore, I am good, and you are bad. Thus, I am better.” This attitude can eventually lead to contempt, de-personalization, and inhumanity.
Jesus told a story about the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 8:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The Pharisee thanked God for making him judgemental, haughty, proud, condescending, and arrogant. He thanked God for making him better than others.
I see a lot of this in many ways. People are marginalized because of their beliefs, income, education, profession, appearance, national origin, politics and religion. Especially religion.
Catholics are a false religion. Baptists are intolerant. Mormons aren’t real Christians. Jehovah’s witnesses are deceived. Evangelicals are materialistic. Fundamentlists are judgemental. And on and on.
And what about those Muslims/Jews/Scientologists/Wiccans and even Satanists? Obviously we are better than those heathens.
It is easy to think so. That’s the point.
We are commanded to love one another. Not just Conservatives. Not just straight people.
Not just Christians. Everybody. Because we are all the same in God’s eyes. We are all a part of His Creation. He loves everybody equally.
It is a hard thing for a sinner like me to understand, easy to forget.
Luke 18:13- And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.