Scripture Reading — Luke 18:9-14
[The Lord] mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
Proverbs 3:34 —
Pride. Some say it was the root of Adam and Eve’s sin. Pride led them to think they knew better than God, and to think they could handle the risk of going their own way. So they did, and they discovered they couldn’t handle it at all. But then it was too late.
Pride is also what Jesus is talking about in the parable in Luke 18. It is wonderful, of course, that people pray. But the praying Pharisee is self-absorbed, seeing himself only in comparison to other people, especially those whom he judged to be worse than himself. Pride tends to want to know how we are doing compared to others, and it thrives on the foolish idea that we are better in some way. Pride depends on comparison to shape identity.
Humility doesn’t compare us to others. It calls us to see ourselves in the light of God’s standards. Humility leads us to realize how much we need God, and it understands that our need is no less than anyone else’s. Humility desires that we see ourselves as God sees us.
That’s wise because it’s real. Humility exposes who we are, and at the same time it reveals our need for the Savior whose very life exemplified humility. A close relationship with Jesus helps us crucify our pride and find the freeing power of true humility.
Lord, I don’t want to be proud. I don’t want false humility or wounded self-esteem either. Please help me to see myself as you see me, so that I can see your grace better. Thank you. Amen.