“He spoke this parable to some…”– Luke 18:9
Pride is number one on God’s “hate list” (Proverbs 6:16). Charles Spurgeon said, “Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness or more hopeful than contrition.” These two contrasting attitudes are put on display for us in Jesus’ parable. There is only one correct view, and that is humility. It is the contrite heart that begins the process of reconciliation.
Luke tells us plainly that Jesus spoke directly to “some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” It is interesting to note the writer does not tell us who the “some” are in this story. Throughout the Scriptures, we see Jesus speaking either to the Apostles, disciples, Scribes, Pharisees, or the multitudes. This time, however, the Lord spoke to the “some.”
The Pharisee was a Nationalist and the religious guardian of the Jewish faith. In their zealousness for the faith, they set up rules as a hedge of protection around it. This defense, however, became the religion itself, with human-made rules and regulations. The truth became overshadowed by their so-called security. Rather than remain a light to the world, they became judgers of it. And in their smugness, they looked down upon anyone who did not share their views. A common mistake many make today.
Despising others is a typical byproduct of pride. It is unfortunate when our privileges as children of the living God become the very source of what God hates. The gifts we have received are not to be used to elevate our status over another. On the contrary, they are meant for God’s glory and to bring His light to others. Jesus did not point out sins without offering a remedy and hope. We must do the same. There are self-righteous people in every crowd. Trusting in self can happen to anyone. Christians are not exempt. If we are not careful, we can become the “some.”
“Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it.”– Unknown