“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God” Luke 18: 14
Self-deception is a great danger in Christian life. It is an effective weapon in the hands of the devil. It makes one think that everything is alright with their lives and deny the blatant evidences which point towards a different direction.
Jesus is talking about a man who was deceiving himself in this parable. He was a temple goer, a man of prayer and a person who did things according to the instructions of the law.
But Jesus is concluding the parable by saying that it is not this Pharisee but another man, a tax collector, who told God that he was a sinner but ultimately went home justified by God!
What was the problem here?
It is self-deception.
The Pharisee was deceiving himself by saying that he was righteous. He was magnifying his acts of righteousness. He was justifying the delusion by making comparison with others who are ‘sinners’. But at the end he failed to see that being proud of his righteousness is itself a sin.
He was close to the temple than the Tax Collector but far away from God.
He was doing everything right in action but completely ungodly in his attitude.
He had a wrong notion about prayer that instead of praying to God he was praying (bragging) about himself.
But on the contrary, the Tax Collector knew who he was. He did not have any wrong notion about his true self. He understood his condition. He accepted that he had lived a terrible life. He acknowledged the fact that he deserves no mercy and had no rights to even look up to heaven.
This truthful self analysis and his humility made him go home justified that day.
Do you know yourself? Or do you have self-deluding image about yourself which is making you feel what you are not?
What is deceiving you in your life?
To avoid this pitfall of self-delusion we need regular retrospection.
Lent in the Christian calendar provides us great opportunity to do it systematically. So commit yourselves to make use of this time profitably. Devote more time for evaluating your life and motives.
Holy Spirit will point out the facts about your life. Change it prayfully.
Then this lent will be a useful time to step out of our self-delusion.