Who Is Despising Others?
It came to pass in the kingdom of man that two men went to church, the one was a Pharisee, and the other was a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not like other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all I possess.
The publican did not look up to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying. “Look at that hypocrite up there by the altar. I may not be much, but I certainly am not a hypocrite like that. I think that people ought to be accepted for what they are. All those people do is judge and condemn people like me. I am sick of this.”
Just then Pastor Feelgood came by and noticed the publican. “I certainly do not want him to think that I am unloving,” the preacher said to himself.
“Welcome, welcome, welcome,” Pastor Feelgood said warmly. “We are so glad that you have come to our services. We welcome everyone. We want you to feel at home. We want you to know that God is smiling upon you, just as we are all smiling upon you. Isn't it great to smile? God wants us all to be happy. See this picture of Christ on the wall over here. He is smiling. Everyone is smiling. Doesn't it feel good to smile?”
“But there are hypocrites in your church,” said the publican.
“We must not think negative thoughts,” said Rev. Feelgood. “Let me introduce you. Pharisees are so different nowadays. You will like him. He really wants you to like him and know that he cultivates your company, for it is good for his business, good for our church, good for his political ideas to be seen with people like you. Come meet him. He has such a warm heart, when you get to know him. He may even want to use you in his public relations campaign for our new program for people like you. There will soon be a new federal grant, with matching state and local funds, that will be exactly what you want. You will find that we are all wonderful people here, and that will put a smile on your face. God loves us all. Isn't love wonderful?”
One elderly woman, who had been with the church for many years, overheard the conversation, and went off with tears in her eyes. “Dear Lord,” she prayed. “Some things are so different, now. But then, some things never change.”
See Luke 18:10-14.