Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. Luke 18:9-12
The Pharisee saw prayer and his spiritual life as a way to be exalted, but the tax collector approached God in humility.
Are we any better? Our triumphal language, our hymns, and our attitude can unconsciously speak the language of contempt. We can’t be a good neighbor if we hold those different to us in contempt. The problem is, we may be the last to know. We need to listen to ourselves.