Righteous or Self-Righteous
This is our last sermon on worship, and we are going to look at how 2 people, a Pharisee and a tax collector, come to worship the Lord. I picked this passage because one is justified before the Lord and the other is not. It is obvious that we all want to be like the tax collector, but unfortunately most of us are probably like me and are self-righteous. To me this makes the Pharisee more interesting, since it gives me an opportunity to examine myself.
Years ago, I asked myself the question for this Pharisee, what did it feel like for him to be wrong? Shockingly, it felt exactly like being right. This is the great challenge of examining our own self-righteousness. We feel so right in the exact areas where are most wrong.
There is a solution to this impasse, but it requires love, humility, and a caring body of believers. Every human who ever lived has the ability to spot self-righteousness and sin in other people. We are good at this, and, in truth, this skill contributes to our own foolishness. The secret is to harness this skill for the good of the kingdom and help each other to humbly identify where we fail.