“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14
Several years ago in an isolated bush church, the pastor announced the baptism after the service. About a hundred members of the congregation, seven converts and I hiked a half a mile down to the river. The pastor walked into the polluted water and began baptizing the young men. Three of the four women removed their blouses and skirts before wadding toward the preacher. The topless women wore only short, transparent half-slips. No one gasped in shock at the nearly naked women. No one ordered them to put their blouses on. But women often worked topless in their homes, so within the local culture it all seemed normal.
Many of us would never walk topless into a baptism. But the converts in the village had never seen one before. Few were able to read and even knew of God’s commandments.
An American tourist arrived and began filming the ceremony. I wanted to stop him because I didn’t want people looking down on those uneducated women, thinking they were better than the ladies. Besides, no Christian church would show a baptism of topless women, or would it?
Everyone baptised that morning had been just as obedient as I had been. They repented of their sins and were following the Lord. That’s the most important decision we can make.
How often do we judge others, who may not have had the advantages we had? Maybe that poor soul ahead of us in line behaves differently because she was never raised by Christian parents, never taken to church, or never had a decent education. We never know what happened to others we meet throughout the day, so let’s not think of ourselves as better.
Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner, just like everyone else. Help me not exalt myself above others.
Thanks for joining me on this Monday morning,
Have a great week,