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By GABY HUNDZA
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like the other people - robbers, evildoers, adulterers - or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 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.”
“Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.” - I hear this phrase a lot, and it definitely ties in well with this reading. Why is it okay for the Pharisee to act as if he is above the other people? To answer this simply: it’s not. As humans we are all inclined to sin, so we should never condemn others for what they have done. When others criticize us for our wrong acts, we are ashamed to confess our sins.
We should never be ashamed to confess our sins, because Christ took them to the cross with him. Instead of being ashamed, embrace your sins and have humility. We all sin, but it is important to accept we have done or failed to do and hand it over to the Lord. Do not let your troubled soul cause anxiety; be humble and be free. Give everything to the Lord - your praise and your sorrows, your strengths and your struggles. Never be afraid to admit your mistakes, because, just as the Jesus says in the parable, those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Just as we should not be ashamed our sins, we should not cause others’ grief by judging them for what they have done. If we desire to be accepted for our mistakes, we should be willing to forgive others and accept their flaws as well. The Pharisee justifies that he is superior to the other people by declaring his good deeds and revealing the wrongdoings of others. Instead of focusing on the good in ourselves and the bad in others, we must acknowledge our own bad in order to grow in our faith. Remember to be humble in all circumstances - no sinner is greater than another. Focus on yourself instead of worrying about others; be humble to be exalted.