Our scripture this week is Luke 18:9-14.

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Jesus was always concerned for those who took their righteousness as a badge of honor, especially if that led to them feeling superior to others because of it. He taught that being humble before God and others was the way of love. Being proud of our faith is one thing, but if it leads us to compare ourselves, it leads us away from God.

God wants us to see each other as brothers and sisters, regardless of our earthly situation. Jesus taught frequently that the last shall be first and that in Heaven there is no rank structure. When we place ourselves above others, we forget this lesson.

We need to focus on what Jesus did, love for God and one another, ignoring our social position or our “status” as believers. Our faith is our connection to God, a deeply personal thing and not something that can be compared with others. Our love is the only thing that God will judge us on.

Gracious God, we often try to organize ourselves by supposedly important labels or characteristics. Help us to see that the only thing that matters is our relationship with You. Amen.

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