Better?

I’ll start with the second question in Luis’s list today. It references Luke 18:9-14 (Pharisee’s prayer/Tax Collector’s prayer).

“If you are being completely honest, who do you think yourself better than? When and why have you judged others? How can you refrain from such judgment?”

Squirming in my seat here. It’s uncomfortable to confess my sins in a blog, or anywhere for that matter. But by doing so, maybe I can start a conversation about the last part: how to refrain. So here goes.

I think one of the worst kinds of pride one can have is religious pride. It’s as easy as the common cold to catch and harder than cancer to get rid of by oneself. But that’s my story. I grew up being told that my church was the one, true church. It felt at times as though we were almost* required to look down on those poor, misled protestants. Then I joined a Presbyterian church, and quickly learned how little I knew about the bible and church history. What a temptation to look down on the poor, misled Roman Catholics I had left behind!

Then I started studying and volunteering at TCCTC. It truly is a salad bowl of Christian traditions. But before I could really cherish and appreciate the wonderful breadth of styles that are represented there, I confess that I spent time trying to figure out why some of my classmates and co-workers prayed the way they did (and not the “better” way that I did).

I can’t take credit for my newfound respect for and delight in Christian diversity. This has been an area where the Holy Spirit has been working on me for a long time. So my thoughts on how to refrain are twofold:

  1. Try — because you know it’s your Christian duty (Philippians 2:3) — to think others better than yourself.
  2. Get to know the person you’re looking down on — you may find a person who has borne much more fruit than you have and/or overcome tremendous hardship. (Wow, can that be humbling!)
  3. Pray about it and then pray some more.

Enough from me — your sister in Christ, Sue Isaac.

*To be fair, I’m sure that I’m misrepresenting the actual teachings of the Roman Catholic church based on my own faulty understanding. But that’s how I remember it.

Now about you…

How would you answer Luis’s question? 

NOTE: If you do leave a comment, it helps to let me know so that I can “approve” it for the website. You’ll see it posted much sooner.

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