Spiritual Practice


Ashlea Massie

Have you ever heard someone say, “I thank God that I’m not like that!” When I hear statements like the Pharisee’s prayer, I cringe inside. I don’t think people realize how haughty and proud they sound when they belittle others. For some reason, these statements sound much worse when spoken aloud by someone else than when we say them in our own minds; and yet, we all think them at some point or another, even if we never say them aloud.

“The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people’” (Luke 18:11a, NRSV). Read the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:11–14.

Whenever I hear someone thank God that he or she is not like another person, I stop and examine myself. Do I ever say the same? If not, then instead of thanking God that I am not like the person who is being haughty, I ask God to remove any sign of haughtiness in my heart and on my lips, because despite what I may think, I am no better than anyone else. We are all equal in God’s eyes, and no one should be despised.


REFLECT ON 1 CORINTHIANS 12:22–25: Who are the weaker, less respectable members of your community? What can you do to “give greater honor” to them?

—from devozine (July/August 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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