There are times when we all need (and sometimes get) a slice of humble pie—a reality check. We need the people closest to us to remind us: When the way we present ourselves shows that we think we’re better than other people, we’re getting off track.
We all know people who come across as elitist or arrogant, but when it’s us, it can be a tough pill to swallow. It’s hard when someone says something to us like:
- “It seems like you shared your opinion as if it were a fact, and I think it rubbed some people the wrong way.”
- “Did you notice that you didn’t make eye contact with our server or say thank you?”
- “When you were talking to the group, it came across more as demanding than requesting.”
It’s hard to hear things like that, but we all need it every once in a while.
In Luke 18, Jesus shares a parable about two people: one was a religious leader—a Pharisee, who knew and tried to live by all of God’s laws; The other was a tax collector, an occupation notorious for stealing from people.
The Pharisee seems to go out of his way to not only publicly declare how awesome he is but to put the tax collector in his place. He says, God, I want to publicly thank you that I’m not like that guy! Contrast that with the tax collector, who says, God help me! I’m a sinner! Jesus tells us which one had the better perspective, and it’s pretty obvious who that was.
But the gut punch came when Jesus gave the meaning of the parable to his listeners… and these were listeners who needed to hear it. They were people who thought they were better than everyone else. They thought their opinions, their way of doing life, was the only way to please God. Here’s what Jesus said: “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Here’s the good news: When we think too highly of ourselves, most of the time it’s only temporary. It won’t be long before we’re humbled—when we’re brought back down to earth. The question is… are we wise enough to stay there?
Before next time, read Chapters 19 and 20.
Prayer: “Heavenly Father, help me remember that everyone has equal value, regardless of position, financial status, or anything else. We’re all equally in need of you—including me. Amen.”