Scripture Reference: Luke 18:9-14
Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican?
The one where the Publican asked God for Mercy, while the Pharisee thanked God for the ability to pay his tithe and pray?
Was the Pharisee really wrong in his gratitude? Was he wrong in celebrating his testimony and doing it unashamedly?
I’m guessing you haven’t thought of it like this but let’s replay present events that have a similitude to what the Pharisee did.
All he did was share his testimony. We all have and shared testimonies. And we’ve heard people we respect shared their testimonies.
Of how they started serving God at age 10. How they covered their Bibles from cover to cover 13 times. Lovely testimonies and often genuine.
How they started reading books in Junior high school. How they started street evangelism and carried it out successfully for years. How they led their fellow students in crusades while in senior high.
How they married virgins. How they didn’t slander their husbands when he was broke and couldn’t provide. How they waited for God on the right man and they never considered anybody who wasn’t remotely Christian.
How they didn’t as much as hold hands or kiss during courtship. How they never raise their hands to beat their wives. How they ensured they had at least 3 streams of income before they got married. How they discovered purpose before thinking of settling down.
How they read 10s of books of notable entrepreneurs before they ventured into business. How they’ve read 1000s of books in few years. How they ventured into many businesses and failed before they won. How they’ve never masturbated and how they spent childhood learning the voice of God.
If you’ve been reading with a sarcastic undertone, you’re wrong.
These are valuable testimonies. Testimonies that many people crave to partake of.
The truth is, there’s nothing different between the person who shares these amazing testimonies and the Pharisee who shared his in prayers.
But why was he judged?
Where did he go wrong? Is it wrong to have and share testimonies? No.
The problem was never with the testimony.
The problem was with the comparison.
But hold on. It gets really interesting when you put it in action. No true believer will say God thank you I’m not a sinner like XYZ, people will rarely say, I’m happy that I’m not lazy like ABC?
Instead it comes subtly like this.
You’re counseling a 13 year old girl who’s already having sex and you say in your mind, “imagine children of nowadays. When I was her age, I was reading books on sexual purity and slapping any man that talks rubbish to me”.
Starting to sound familiar?
You hear a sister who got married is having issues with her husband, whom you never approved of as godly in the first place.
Then you go, hmmm. I’ve always encouraged sisters to wait on the Lord just like I did. I made sure I don’t give any man a listening ear of romance until I get clearance from God. But they don’t listen. see it now?
A few more instances to take this message home.
A brother comes crying to you. He masturbated again.
Then you go in your mind, what is this brother problem? Look I also had this troubles but I made a resolve to fight it. I resisted to the shedding of blood (let he that has understanding decipher). I used every and any means. But look at him now succumbing at every trigger and crying like a baby. He can’t even use the lessons I’ve given him.
Scriptures said they that compare themselves with themselves are not wise.
If the Pharisee has said, “Lord I thank you that by your grace, I am not a sinner. He too would have been justified.
When you counsel people for a living or a part of ministry, you’re very prone to these temptation of comparison.
When you’re doing well in anything: Business, career, ministry, marriage,family, academics etc, you’re also in danger of this.
Because the tendency is that you often share your victory tips to those struggling. And when they don’t use it and obtain victory/breakthrough, it annoys you.
It takes a certain level of humility and compassion to acknowledge your wins and thank God for it without comparing it against other people’s weakness.
It also takes knowledge.
The knowledge that you are who you are by grace not your will.
You haven’t suffered (nor do you know) the diminishing exposures the other person has suffered. You don’t know how it affected their wellbeing, sense of judgment and willpower.
Why then the comparison?