Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14
Yesterday we were traveling so we were only able to see parts of the Comey hearing. Getting to Helena takes a full day and sometimes a day and a half. We try to see what we could in the airport but it was hit or miss. We, as a nation, are in the grip of people telling tales, whether true or false. Most of us are not insiders, and don't really know what happened, or will happen. Life would truly be much easier if everyone told the truth all the time. We would have no need of lawyers or hearings. But the world is full of liars and sinners and we are all part of that benighted and broken group. The problem today is that, people in power, no matter their reasons, must be scrupulously honest or the nation fails. Deception can ruin good leaders, but even worse, it can destroy the most vulnerable.
Jesus told stories that everyone can understand. He knew that the religious rulers were self-deceivers and often exalted themselves and kept the poor and aliens under their thumbs. They saw themselves as better, more perfect, than the average riff raff. Anytime we assume ourselves to be better than others, we deceive ourselves. But God knows just how broken and sinful we are. And in these days of controlling the narrative (another term for creative fiction), we are invited by God to be honest and humble, for that is where God will find us and raise us up.
Today, I ask God to help me be honest and humble everyday. May my life, as fragile, broken and sinful as it is, be a sign of God's love for this sinful and broken world. May all our lives, in our deepest humility, give hope and promise to an anxious world.