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Mixed Bag – Dr. Jekyl…

The Pharisee and the Tax CollectorKey Bible Verse:  If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.  – 1 John 1:8

Bonus Reading:  Luke 18:9-14

Do you ever feel like a pretty good person? I do sometimes.  I’m usually nice to my students, treat my colleagues fairly, deeply love my family, pay my taxes, provide psychological help to pastors in crisis, go to church and tithe.  I don’t steal, commit adultery, use illegal drugs, or swear.  And I floss regularly.

Then I remember the religious leader in the temple (see Luke 18:9-14).  He had the same list.  His prayer is the formula for self-absorbed disappointment and disillusionment. When we see ourselves as “pretty good,” we misunderstand the gravity of sin and our desperate need for grace. We place ourselves above others, become their judges, and give them the power to disappoint us.

A physicist friend uses this analogy: Each of us is like a light bulb. One shines with 50 watts of holiness, another has only 25 watts. Maybe the most stellar Christians are 200 watts. But these comparisons become trite in the presence of the sun. In the face of God, our different levels of piety are puny and meaningless. It makes no sense to compare ourselves with one another because we are all much more alike than we are different.

—Mark McMinn in Why Sin Matters

My Response:  Do I rate myself more like the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14) or the tax collector?

Thought to Apply: One of the first things for which we have to pray is a true insight into our condition.—Olive Wyon (writer)

Adapted from Why Sin Matters (Tyndale, 2004)

Prayer for the Week:  Lord, help me to stop kidding myself about what I’m really like. Thank You for loving me even though You know the worst.

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