God Has Mercy on Me, A Sinner! – Week of February 22, 2021
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
“I want to be the mom. I know the most about taking care of babies!”
“I’m putting the last block on the tower, so it doesn’t fall!”
In a room filled with children under the age of five, you’ll hear sentiments like these all day long. Many children think they are the very best at, well, everything!
As grown-ups, we know better. Given thirty seconds to think, we could come up with a pretty good list of things that aren’t our strengths. That said, aren’t there so many times when we are just like the kids? Prideful thoughts and attitudes can sneak in so easily. It might sound like:
“Why does she always hold him like that? It never helps him to calm down.”
“I play on the floor with the kids all morning, while he pulls up a chair and just sits and watches.”
“She always wants to do all these art projects, and they’re amazing, but I’m always left cleaning everything up.”
In each of these examples, we’re not only complaining, we’re pridefully thinking of ourselves as better than someone else.
In the verses for today, Jesus was telling a story to those who were “confident in their own righteousness.” Jesus cuts right to our prideful hearts. Even while we know Jesus is our Savior, our sinful nature loves to puff itself up and put down those around us.
Jesus knew this about us, so in his love, he came to think, speak, and act differently in our place. Instead of choosing to stay in the perfection of heaven, Jesus became a lowly human. He perfectly put others before himself, always!
Then, Jesus gave the ultimate gift of humble service by giving his life for all, so that now, when we recognize the sin of pride and pray, “God forgive me. Have mercy on me, a sinner,” we can leave that prayer with this solid promise in our hearts, “God has had mercy on you, a sinner, for Jesus’ sake.” Knowing this precious truth fills our hearts with peace and moves us forward in humble service to others, in Jesus’ name.
Dear Jesus, it can be so easy to fall into the sin of pride. Thank you for being perfectly humble in our place, and for dying for us so that this sin could be forgiven. Help us now, with hearts of faith, to work each day to think of others ahead of ourselves. In your name we ask this, amen.
A Question to Consider:
Pride often comes when there is a misunderstanding of others’ gifts or abilities or a different value system given to those diverse gifts. Take a moment to jot down the names of your coworkers. What are some of the strengths you see in their work each day?