Guarding against spiritual pride

Instead of judging others, let us be merciful to them. Let us also learn to walk with them, understand them, and love them. For love is what God desires more than offerings.

Going to church (hopefully) makes us better people. But, it does not make us any better than others.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us to guard against spiritual pride:

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” — Luke 18:10-14

Instead of judging others, let us acknowledge our own sins with contrite hearts.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.” — Psalm 51:19

Instead of judging others, let us be merciful to them. Let us also learn to walk with them, understand them, and love them. For love is what God desires more than offerings.

"For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." — Hosea 6:6