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.
If you look closely at this passage, you might find yourself in it.
At first it might strike fear in your heart.
It did mine.
I’m not who you think.
I may not say it out loud to God but there are times when I can hear it in the whispers of my heart.
Thank you that I am not like them.
Thank you that I haven’t done the things they’ve done.
Thank you that I don’t have that kind of reputation.
Thank you that I have never failed like that.
Thank you that I’m better off.
Thank you that my kids don’t do those things.
Need I say more?
On the receiving end…
I have felt it in a look…an overall glance, sizing me up.
I have seen it in a smile that says, “I’m just being nice.”
I have seen it in a Facebook post.
I saw them, when they saw me coming and acted as if they hadn’t.
I’ve been invisible in the room.
Hearts whispering, Thank you that I’m not like her.
Yep, takes one to know one.
It’s time to beat our breast again, to smite the hierarchy in our hearts.
At least it is at my address.
The blessings of God are not for us alone.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
We are not saved, to despise another man who isn’t.
We are not forgiven and our sins forgotten, to despise another man for his.
We are not prosperous, to despise and overlook another in their poverty.
We are not healthy, to despise another in his infirmity.
We are not delivered, to despise another man in his chains.
Thanksgiving is empty when we spend it on us.
How much can we give away?
His mercies are fresh and new every morning.
Mercy is not a “giver”.
Mercy is a “taker”.
In terms of thanksgiving as we know it, that’s inside out and upside down.
Mercies are fresh and new…not a harvest but rather laborers in our field. Reaping our harvest. Sent to glean our reproach. Carrying away what we rightfully deserve.
If we have a revelation of that, gratitude and thanksgiving will never be a problem again.
It’s not about what we have been given.
It’s about what we haven’t.
Be merciful to me…
Be merciful to them…
Lord Jesus, thank you for the cross and for taking from me. Thank you that death, hell and the grave will forever be impoverished because of what you have done. Thank you for paying such a price, for something that I do not yet truly comprehend, for a debt that I could never pay. Thank you that I owe nothing to sin, spiritually, mentally or physically. You have left me with nothing. Nothing to fear. Nothing to lose. Thank you for your mercy today. Thank you that mercy and goodness are following me today…leading me to repentance and gleaning my mess. I love you Lord.