While cleaning, I put my full length mirror in the hall way so it wouldn’t get broken. Maddy, our Basset hound, came running down the hallway, floppy ears dragging the floor, tongue hanging out, eager to get wherever I was.
As Maddy rounded the corner she saw herself in the mirror and came to a galloping halt! Not recognizing herself, she barked at the ‘stranger’ in the mirror until her doggie voice was hoarse! We laughed till we could laugh no more!
The parable about the Pharisee on the street corner is about not recognizing yourself. He stood, beating his chest and proclaiming how good it was to not be like the lowly sinner. We want to focus on the poor sinner who stood and humbly prayed; confessing his own frailties and sinful nature. In our hearts, we hope we are like him and not the holier than thou Pharisee–.
But, let’s look at the prideful Pharisee for a moment. He obviously thought himself to be a good example or he wouldn’t have been standing on the corner reciting his own virtues. Comparing himself to others, he figured he looked pretty good, all things considered. HE thought himself to be a righteous man, doing all God required!
Since he was so certain he had Godly virtues, he must have been faithful in attending synagogue (church) or he’d have no awareness of a standard. He was a man who attended church, did good works, even paid his tithes—yet he knew nothing of the heart of a servant. He had no concept of the need for a savior, even though he was, himself, religious.
My own heart needs to be examined. Do I have a servant’s heart? Am I daily seeking how to lift up, encourage, help out and do the inconvenient, UNnoticed tasks? I have to ask myself, if I rounded a corner and suddenly saw “me” in God’s spiritual mirror—would I recognize myself?
Luke 18: 9-12 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “
The Holy Bible, New International Version®. Pradis Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, © 1973, 1978, 1984.