Yesterday I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some lunch fixin’s and happened to glance at the magazine rack as I waited in line to pay for my goods. Now the sin I have been most warned about as it relates to supermarket tabloids is that of lust. The plunging cleavage of female celebrities and salacious headlines detailing their exploits are said to be veritable ICBMs in the tempter’s arsenal.
Not this time.
As I surveyed the absolute train wrecks that are the lives of our nation’s celebrities, a very pious thought came to my mind: “I thank God I am not like one of these loathsome monsters … making babies out of wedlock, snorting cocaine, losing and gaining weight all willy nilly.”
The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” Luke 18:11
The pride of the Pharisee can seem so holy and upright, but the stench of it must be utterly obnoxious to God. How often we look at the comfort, wholesomeness and relative normalcy of our lives—in contrast to others—and attribute the cause of such goodness to the wise choices we have made, the quality education we worked hard to obtain, the decent spouse we had the good sense to marry.
There is little room for grace in the face of good, clean living.