By Zach Wood
If I have done it once, I have done it probably a hundred times or even more. I am sure you have probably done it as well. I compare myself to people. I know you do the same. We all do. We are human. We seem to feel better when we justify what we are doing by comparing ourselves to someone else and say, “Well, at least I’m not like that person!”
To be honest, that phrase becomes like a disease that seems to permeate through our relationships with other people. We separate ourselves from those people who seem worse off than we are. We like to think we are better than those who do really bad things. The problem is we have come up with the rationalization that what we are doing is ok and what those people do is terrible.
Sad thing here is, Jesus Christ sees sin as sin. We can rationalize, justify, and convince ourselves that are better than “those people” who do really bad things. We try to do good things, so we strive to many times separate ourselves when good and bad people are categorized.
Jesus Christ is showing us in this parable that our comparison problem stems from when we compare ourselves within our reasoning and understanding and feel we are better than those who are doing really bad things in our eyes. We are not comparing ourselves to who Christ wants us to be, but rather what we personally think is better. His standard is so higher than ours and we many times fail to see the way He wants us to see. The harsh truth is when we think this way in comparing ourselves to others, we are just as bad as those who we think are doing worse things.
Jesus Christ calls us to be humble and repentant. We should not think of ourselves in any other way than humble and responsive to what He commands. He compares us to what He asks of us. It is extremely unhealthy when we compare ourselves to others and feel we are better. We become like the Pharisees. We show off and try to explain how we are better. We are no better.
When I read this parable, I want to be more like the tax collector who admits his inadequacies to God and becomes humble before the Lord. The last part of verse 14 is so powerful. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Which one are you right now? The Pharisee or the Tax Collector? Be humbled and let go of your rationalizations, justifications and comparisons you’ve made.