Luke 18:9-14 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The most common and generally accepted conclusion of this teaching of Jesus is how God justifies the humble and humbles the proud. I propose this morning that we look at this teaching from a different angle. Think of going to church yesterday. There you are amongst brothers and sisters in Christ. But have you ever stood there “worshipping” while in your heart you are hurling judgmental, fiery darts towards someone? You judge the way they dress, the way they worship. You wonder why in the world did this “publican” come to “my” church. Beloved, when we are engaging in self-righteous, judgmental attitudes towards someone else in church, our “prayers and worship” are going no farther than the ceiling. No wonder so many people leave church services empty and get nothing from the message but an emotional massage. Selah