Pride manifests itself in all sorts of ways. But two of the main ways it does is when we are confident that we are right with God because of who we are and what we’ve done and when we look down on other people. Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax collector in Luke 18:9-14 to people who were full of pride. Notice how Luke describes them:

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable – Luke 18:9

As we read that out did you see the two insights into their psyche? First of all they were confident of their own righteousness.  In fact the original Greek gives the impression that they “were continually in a state of confidence that they were righteous” [1]. That is, they were constantly reminding themselves of their own moral standing. They were not just good religious people they were awesome religious people and they would have been absolutely confident that God looked down on them with pride and said “They are my guys!” These guys would have been some of the most moral people in Israel and they knew it and so did everyone else. Did you notice the second insight Luke gives us into their psyche? Not only were  they confident of their own righteousness  but they looked down on everyone else. The word for “looked down” can be translated despised or rejected[2]. That is, they saw people who didn’t measure up and they just thought these people, the immoral ones, were beneath them.  These two insights into their psyche that Luke gives us showed their pride, it showed their arrogance.  But just before we pray to God “Thank you God that I’m not like one of these religious types.”  We have to see once again who Jesus is talking to. Luke says that Jesus was talking to “Some who….” sure the people Jesus was directing this parable would have been religious but really Jesus is directing this parable to anyone who thinks highly of themselves, especially morally, and looks down on everyone else. We are all in danger of this because we have all looked down on somebody at some point in our lives.

A couple of years ago I was walking down King Street in summer, it was about 40 degrees. My office is just off King Street and I couldn’t be bothered putting shoes on. So I’m walking down King Street with no shoes when I see this guy who is about 6’8 and he wearing all black leather, he has half of his shaved and the other in blue, purple and black dreadlocks. He looks at me and sees that I don’t have shoes on and he says to me “Get some shoes on you bloody freak!” Judgementalism comes in all shapes and sizes. None of us are immune to it. We are all in danger of being like the people that Jesus is telling this story to.

What is the medicine to heal our sick and broken hearts which are filled with pride? It is nothing else but the cross:

“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’  Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” [3]

We all need the grace of God to overcome our pride. Only the grace of God displayed at the cross will help us kill our pride

[1] Translation by Craig Blomberg.  Preaching the Parables: From Responsible Interpretation to Powerful Proclamation. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 160. The tenses of the Greek verbs imply an ongoing past action. On the Greek in this verse see Darrell Bock, Luke 9:51-24:53 (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament),  (Rapids: Baker, 1994-96.), 1491

[2] Darrell Bock, Luke (The NIV Application Commentary). (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 461

[3] John Stott, The Message of Galatians (Bible Speaks Today), ( Downers Grove, Intervarsity Press), 179

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