We aren’t content with a bite of adulation; we tend to swallow it all. It messes with our systems. The praise swells our heads and shrinks our brains, and pretty soon we start thinking we had something to do with our survival. Pretty soon we forget we were made out of dirt and rescued from sin.
Pretty soon we start praying like the fellow at the religious caucus: ”God, thank you that the world has people like me. The man on the corner needs welfare — I don’t. The prostitute on the street has AIDS — I don’t. The drunk at the bar needs alcohol —- I don’t. The gay caucus needs morality — I don’t. I thank you that the world has people like me.”
Fortunately, there was a man in the same meeting who had deflected all the applause. Too contrite even to look at the skies, he bowed and prayed, ’’God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Like my brother on welfare, I’m dependent on your grace. Like my sister with AIDS, I’m infected with mistakes. Like my friend who drinks, I need something to ease my pain. And as you love and give direction to the gay, grant some to me as well. Have mercy on me, a sinner.”
After telling a story like that, Jesus said, ”I tell you when this man went home, he was right with God, but the Pharisee was not. All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great” ( Luke 18:14).
Traveling Light by Max Lucado