A famous quote states, “never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up.” This quote sends a strong message to those who may be considered proud or those who tend to look down on things and other people. In God, we are in every respect immeasurably inferior to him. When we stand proud, we cannot possibly understand who God is. All while looking down, we cannot see the things above us.
Jesus tells a story of a pharisee (Luke 18:9-14) who felt superior to others. He looked down on extortioners, adulterers, and the tax collectors. The tax collectors, also known as publicans, were well hated in the biblical days and were referred to as sinners. They were Jews who worked for the Romans, which made them traitors. People hated paying taxes to the foreigners who ruled over them. They (tax collectors) were not paid an actual wage by the Romans but were expected to take extra money and keep some for themselves. Some of them were dishonest and abused this system by taking far too much money from people. Jews were expected to pray three times a day, while others would go to the temple for private prayer. One day at the temple, a pharisee prayed a prideful prayer; he thanked God that he was not like the other men (Luke 18:11). The tax collector who was praying in the temple at the same time while feeling ashamed of himself would not as much as raise his eyes to heaven; instead he beat his breast saying, “God be merciful to me as a sinner.” I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other man. For anyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.
Pride can be a harmful issue for many of us. We must learn not to look down on others regardless of their situations. Instead, try to see the God who is far above us all. In my opinion, spiritual pride is the most arrogant of all kinds of pride. Jesus wants to teach us the importance of praying with the right attitude. This parable points out those who believe they are very righteous and look down on others–like the Pharisees.
“Remember to never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up” (author unknown).