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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 27, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Luke 18:9–14

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (NRSV)

As I reread this passage, I reflected on all the times in which I too was just as guilty as the Pharisee. Guilty of believing myself to be more compassionate, more knowledgeable, or even more humble than those around me. And by believing this, it made me feel in some way better about myself.

But as we read this passage in Luke, we are reminded that it is not our place to make those judgments of others. That judgment lies with God alone, for only God truly knows what lies in each individual’s past and heart.

So let us all be humbled by this reading in Luke and be reminded of the true meaning of God and Christ, not to judge others but rather to embrace them.

God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Forgive me for all the times in which I have wrongly judged those around me, when it was never my place to do so. Help me to be stronger in your will and more compassionate to those around me. In your name I pray. Amen.

Written by Stephanie Jenks, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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