“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
There is a widespread dis-ease affecting many of us today. It is called “comparing ourselves with others.” The symptoms of this disease include: using other people to measure one’s progress in life, doing everything in one’s power to put people down, and make them look small and unimportant, talking about people in a bad light and praying against others.
In my country, there is a type of generator called “I beta pass my neighbour.” This philosophy of “beta pass neighbour” is so entrenched in our psyches that we never appreciate anything we have unless we are sure it is bigger, better, more sophisticated or more expensive than that of others.
Until we learn to complement rather than compete with people, the world would forever remain a place of enmity; a jungle of some sort; an animal kingdom. If you must compete at all, then compete with yourself. Strive to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. It is okay to take inspiration from others but know that we are all gifted differently.
Knowing the weaknesses of others should not make us puffed with pride, it should make us think of ways to help them up. This requires humility; humility to know that your level in life came not by your power but by the grace of God and others who helped you in the past.
The second man in the parable of Jesus came before God to pray and without raising his eyes to heaven simply said: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” In the end, his prayer was accepted but the Pharisee only prayed to himself. As the Prophet Hosea makes us understand: “God desires mercy and not sacrifice.”
Examination of conscience does a lot of good for us; not only does it draw us closer to God (who loves the sinner but hates the sin), it also helps us forgive those who hurt us. Do you consider yourself better than anyone else? Then it is time to start examining your conscience.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to be content and help me examine my heart diligently. Amen.
(Saturday of the 3rd week of Lent. Bible Study: Hosea 6:1-6, Psalm 51 and Luke 18:9-14).