"Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." —Matthew 23:12
Jesus indicted the religious leaders of His time on several counts:
- Their words were bold but their deeds few (Mt 23:4).
- They did not help others carry their burdens (Mt 23:4).
- They performed their works to be seen (Mt 23:5).
- They used religious practices to draw attention to themselves (Mt 23:5).
- They liked to receive honor and respect (Mt 23:6-7).
In summary, the religious leaders of Jesus' time were bad examples because they were proud.
Religious leaders are not the only people tempted to fall into the sin of pride. At times, we all are like the prideful scribes and Pharisees. We should recognize this sin in our lives and repent of it. Furthermore, to resist the temptation to pride, we must do the three things Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees to do — avoid occasions of this sin, serve others, and humble ourselves.
We must take initiative in fighting pride by intentionally humbling ourselves (Mt 23:12). We should not primarily be on the defense as we try to keep the devil from making us proud. Instead, the devil should have to try to keep us from becoming humble. Humble yourself. Attack pride.
Prayer: Father, send the Spirit to teach me how to humble myself.
Promise: "Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow." —Is 1:18
Praise: Maria practices turning the spotlight on God or on others rather than be tempted to claim it for herself.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Arrogance on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007
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