Gossiping To God
We never really get away with gossiping, whether in prayer or just to our family and friends. Here is a parable that Jesus told that has many observations about a what God responds to and does not respond to.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” – Jesus Christ in Luke 18:10-13
I can glean at least seven lessons from this quick story about the Pharisee and the Publican.
- This person Jesus described thanked God about his superiority, he broadcasted it. Even his prayers essentially became gossiping.
- This man kept a mental log which he listed about his superior way of living
- This Pharisee mixed self-righteousness with his religion (he went up to pray).
- This man deeply and profoundly misunderstood God. This is obvious because he is talking directly with God, displaying his self-righteousness openly.
- This man’s list of deeds concealed his self-righteousness and accomplished nothing spiritually. That list of things he had done were themselves the reward. God was not impressed or moved by them.
- The sinner stood afar off just asking God for mercy. This was the preferred way to move God, not the list of good things but repentance and humility.
- Jesus Christ is paying attention to how people approach him, and he is not pleased with self-righteousness.