Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner

Luke 18:13

‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

It seems so easy for some – maybe even for most – to point out the sins or wrongs performed by others. Little children learn to tattle on their siblings to mom and dad at a young age. It is easy to point a finger at someone else and report their mistakes.

I remember being told as a child that when I point a finger at someone – I have three fingers pointing back at me. I also remember this passage of Scripture. Matthew 7:3–5 – 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

In the news these days are report after report from media sources of perceived wrongs of the current administration while at the same time reports are being made that previous administrations did the very same things. Wrong is wrong – whether someone else did it before us or not – just saying. But when we have a penchant toward picking out the mistakes of others before correcting our own mistakes – we leave ourselves open for ridicule and judgment.

I’m all for keeping our public figures and government accountable. I’m all for holding each other accountable – as Scripture calls us to do. In a men’s group of old – we had the following passage as our marching orders. Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. We strove to hold each other accountable – in our Christian walk – in our marriages – in our daily lives. We were accountable to one another and the witness of Christ in our church family and in our community were impacted by our accountability to one another.

Christian brothers and sisters should help to hold each other accountable – but this only works if we are humble before God first – admitting our own mistakes/sins and striving to correct them. We cannot help others when we ourselves are caught up in sin and a lack of repentance.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Luke 18:9–14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

The Pharisee was puffed up with his religiosity. He thoughts he was better than others and that his sin was so small and minor. The tax collector was humble before God and knew that his sin impacted his relationship with God and with others. The second should be our attitude and posture. We should all pray – ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ It is then and only then that we can help others. Only when we humble ourselves before God can we be of help to one another.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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May 30, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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