Writer Ken Blanchard said, “Humility does not mean you think less of yourself. It means that you think of yourself less.” That is another way of saying what Jesus taught about humility, found in Luke 18. He was talking to people who took great pride in their own achievements, who thought their good deeds would earn them God’s approval. They were so proud of their own good works that they looked down on others who fell short of their standards. Jesus explained it this way: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a 10th of my income.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ [Jesus said] I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” The Pharisee merely glanced at God and focused on himself. He thanked God for who he himself was, not for who God is, while the tax collector confessed his unworthiness and pleaded for God’s mercy. Jesus taught that humility moves the heart of God.
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