Lenten Bible Study – Day 36

Wednesday, March 31, 2021- Day 36
Luke 18:10-14
1“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
As we think about this Lenten season humility should be something that is always on our mind. We see Jesus come into Jerusalem riding a donkey. We see Jesus beaten with a crown of thorns on his head. We see Jesus hung on a cross next to criminals though he was blameless. Humility is something that should be foundational to Christians, it was certainly modeled by Jesus. However, humility seems to be something that is hard for us to come by, especially when it comes to religion and politics.    
Two famous pastors George Whitefield disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters, he was careful not to create problems in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the gospel. When someone asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, “I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him.”
Too many times in our lives we think we are right and the other person is wrong. In fact, it seems that being right is very important to most of us. So much so that we need the other person to admit they are wrong. If they don’t agree with us they are an idiot, fool, or crazy. Many times, in the church we look at other people and denominations and think they have it wrong. We assume what we believe about God is correct and what they believe is not the “true” word of God. 
I see the same when I see people argue about politics. I see many different kinds of people coming from many different backgrounds all insisting they are correct. There doesn’t seem to be any learning or compromise because we already think we are correct.  
Our scripture today is Jesus telling us that we need to be humble. We cannot be people who insist they are right about everything. We cannot be like the man thanking God for not being like other people. We cannot be people who don’t care about the people we disagree with, and label them in large generalizations. We need to be humble in every aspect of our lives. We need to listen to the people we disagree with and assume we can learn from them. We don’t need to agree with each other, but we do need to care about each other. Being humble is thinking less of ourselves am more of others. It is what Jesus did, and it is what we need to do ourselves!
God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Amen.