Good or bad?

Posted: July 1, 2016 in Good or bad?


Sometimes we can get into a state were we imagine we are better than other people…

Maybe we might think our family is in some way special and because we belong to it, we are above other people.

Maybe we can do things. Maybe God has given us abilities and has given us cleverness and we think it all belongs to us.

Maybe we think we look good or have great ideas about clothes and shoes.

Maybe we do really well at school, and are good at passing exams, and we come to think we are cleverer than other people.

Maybe we understand the Bible well, and think that we are a special kind of Christian.

None of these things belong to us. All that we have and are able to do, are gifts from God. We cannot claim to deserve them, as God gives them out of His love and Grace. But still, sometimes we can start to think we are important.

JESUS told a parable about two men.

He told the story to show people who were proud and believed in themselves, and thought they were better then others, that they were mistaken. Here is the story…

The two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a religious Pharisee and the other a hated tax collector. The Pharisee was well regarded by people in the community and always did and said the suitable thing. He had a well-behaved family and a good job at the temple, and always looked the part.

The tax-collector was hated by the community because he collected tax money for the Romans. Often tax-collectors kept some of the money for themselves, or over-charged people so that they could get riches for themselves. If you were a tax-collector you could become wealthy and become important in the Roman culture, but the people around you would despise you. These two men went up to the temple to pray. They both felt the need to pray and they both believed in God. They recognized their need for God, and the both knew they needed to pray to Him.

“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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’”

The Pharisee sees himself as a man apart. He doesn’t mix with the other worshippers. He stands apart and prays to GOD, or thinks he prays to GOD.

He addresses GOD as “GOD” not Father or Lord, but just as GOD. God is not a Father to him, nor is GOD his LORD.

Then he thanks God. Not for food, or clothing or any provision- he deserves all these things, and believes he has a right to own what he has and just give God a tenth of his money. He thanks God that he is not as bad as other people.!!

The Pharisee sees other people as really bad… Thieves, adulterers, and evil people… he would never be that bad… he would never do such things… Then he sees the tax-collector and he tells God that he is no way as band as this dreadful tax-collector who steals money for everyone.

Then he justifies himself. He tells God all the great things he has done for GOD… he fasts – goes without food, twice a week and gives GOD ten percent of all he has, so that GOD can be pleased with him. He does not thank GOD for anything he has been given, he does not ask for any forgiveness for sins (he hasn’t got any!) He does not ask for anything he needs – he has it all…

In another part of the temple, at a distance from the Holy place, (in the foyer?) the tax-collector stands… He feels his unworthiness acutely, and cannot bring himself to lift his head towards the sky.

He hangs his head like one ashamed. He strikes his breast, like a penitent would do, showing utter contempt for his own efforts, and mourning for his sinfulness.

He mutters, “GOD be merciful to me a sinner.”

This man has no regard for his so-called good deeds. He knows he hasn’t got any. He speaks few words to GOD. He knows God is not impressed with his words, or deeds, and he really knows he needs forgiveness.

All he is seeking is MERCY…

What is JESUS’ judgment on these two men?

Who will be listened to? Who’s prayer will be answered?

JESUS said the man who humbled himself was forgiven and the one who was proud was not forgiven.The man who admitted he was a sinner before GOD was the one who was forgiven by GOD. People who humble themselves and seek forgiveness are the ones who’s prayers are heard and are forgiven.

We all need to be forgiven. GOD says there are no good people. The good things we have and the good ideas we have are from Him. The only thing we have is our sin.

The only way we get rid of it, is by confessing it to God.

We don’t need to learn prayers… we just need to say sorry…

Sorry is the hardest word… we don’t want to say it… but we need to say it, if we are to be forgiven… To humble ourselves is difficult, but GOD is kind and when we say sorry and repent, He forgives us. We know this because His word tells us so. The weight of our sin goes and he sets us free to live our lives for His glory…

This is what a Christian is. A bad person who has been forgiven…

We all need this…

I need it and you need it too…

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