|March 18, 2016: Your Self-Assessment
“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (v. 13)
Everybody you know has a self-assessment. The question is: how do we arrive at our self-assessment?
The Pharisee considers himself a virtuous man. How does he arrive at this self-assessment? By looking down. He chooses a lowly tax collector as his standard, and of course the difference between himself and this man is considerable. It’s easy to look tall when you stand next to someone short.
The tax collector views himself as a sinner. How does he arrive at his self-assessment? By looking up. God’s searing righteousness is the standard by which he measures himself. No wonder he pleads for mercy.
It is so tempting, and so easy, to find some convenient sinner, some morally short person to stand next to, and use him or her as a standard. And so we glide into pride, so involved in our spiritual primping, so busy congratulating ourselves that we are not like other people, that it doesn’t occur to us that we’re not much like Jesus, either.
When we measure ourselves by looking up—when biblical righteousness is our standard—how can we say anything other than what the tax collector said: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” And God is merciful. “I tell you,” said Jesus, “this man went down to his home justified…”
Prayer: God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
Today’s devotional was written by Lou Lotz, the pastoral leader of Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visitwww.woh.org.
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