Friday, 6 August 2021
Title: A Parable for the ”Me” generation.
By: Ps Cheng Cheung

Luke 18:13 ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

Do such ideas sound familiar: “Loving yourself is the greatest love of all”; “I need to feel good about myself”; “I have to buy that product because I am worth it”; “I owe it to myself to reward myself in this way.” ?
This is common speech of the “me” generation.

Sadly, some popular preachers join this trend by saying “Your problem is not sin or your relationship with God, but your failure to take your place as God’s sons and daughters on planet earth. This is your entitlement and God’s blessing! Claim your rights.”

What we believe and feel about ourselves is obviously important. But God’s way of giving significance to our “selves” is completely different from the world’s. Only when God is truly seen for who He is, can we see ourselves for who we are. Meaning comes only when life is theocentric, not egocentric.

Are we able to see ourselves for who we are?

The parable of the pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18: 9-14) starts with this interesting preface: Verse 9 Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else.

From the context, it would seem that Jesus knew that there were those in his audience who could not see themselves for who they were – the foundation of their self-confidence was themselves, not God. Such self-confidence is a dangerous delusion. Pharisaism, and its modern day cousins – religiosity, new age dogma and humanism – cannot remove our guilt before God and therefore give us peace with Him.

What were the pharisee’s blind spots?

He had an inflated sense of self. He was proud and self-centered. He was blind to his real position before a holy God. He also had contempt for others not like him.

He had a deflated sense of God. It showed because his prayer lacked praise, petition or confession. One did not get the sense he was aware of God’s presence.

He had a distorted sense of values. His focus was on his works, not on his character.

Even in God’s presence, he could not examine beneath the surface of his own life, to see who he really was. Are we able to go beneath the surface to see ourselves with all our shortcomings as God sees us?

The reputation of tax collectors was the total opposite of pharisees. They were thought to be traitors to their own people, corrupt personally and unclean religiously and therefore shunned by the respectable.

What was his posture as he approached God?

He stood at a distance, on the fringes because he felt totally unworthy before God. He would not even look up to heaven, the body language of guilt, but beat his breast, saying ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ He demonstrated humility, brokenness and repentance.

By this, he showed he knew that in God’s presence, there cannot be pretence. He offered no excuses, for this would be futile. He sought atoning mercy from God and received that.

Jesus concluded the parable with ”I tell you that this man went down to his home j͟u͟s͟t͟i͟f͟i͟e͟d͟ rather than the Pharisee.”_ Due to the tax collector’s sincerity and God’s grace, He had not only forgiven the tax collector, but had declared him r͟i͟g͟h͟t͟e͟o͟u͟s͟ and p͟l͟a͟c͟e͟d͟ h͟i͟m͟ i͟n͟ a͟ r͟i͟g͟h͟t͟ r͟e͟l͟a͟t͟i͟o͟n͟s͟h͟i͟p͟ with H͟i͟m͟.

My Prayer today

Heavenly Father, I thank you that You look at the attitude of my heart whenever I come into Your presence.

Make my motives pure and keep my hands clean that I might be fit for Your use. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年8月6日
标题:“我”世代的比喻
作者:张祯祥传道
翻译:陈月妃

路加福音18:13“神阿、开恩可怜我这个罪人。”

这样的想法是否耳熟能详:“最伟大的爱就是爱自己”;“我需要自我感觉良好”;“我必须购买那个产品,因为我值得拥有”;“我应该以这种方式奖励自己。”?

这是“我”这一代人的共同语言。

可悲的是,一些受欢迎的传道人也加入了这一趋势,说“你的问题不是罪或你与上帝的关系,而是你未能在地球上成为上帝的儿女。这是你的权利,也是上帝的祝福!争取你的权利。”

我们对自己的信念和感受固然很重要。但是上帝赋予我们“自我”意义的方式与世界是完全不同的。只有当我们真正认识上帝是谁,我们才能看到我们自己是谁。只有当生命是以神为中心,而不是以自我为中心时,生命才会有意义。

我们能看清自己是谁吗?

法利赛人和税吏的比喻(路加福音18:9-14)以一个有趣的序言开始:第9节耶稣也把这个比喻告诉了一些仗着自己是义人、而藐视别人的人。

从上下文来看,耶稣似乎知道祂的听众中有些人无法看清他们自己是谁——他们自信的基础是他们自己,而不是上帝。这种自信是一种危险的错觉。法利赛主义及其现代近亲——虚伪的信仰、新时代教条和人文主义——无法消除我们在上帝面前的罪疚,从而让我们与上帝和好。

法利赛人的盲点是什么?
他有一种膨胀的自我意识。他骄傲又以自我为中心。他对自己在圣洁的上帝面前的真实地位视而不见。他也鄙视其他和他不一样的人。

他对上帝有种泄气感。这是因为他的祈祷缺乏赞美、祈求或忏悔。他并没有意识到上帝的存在。

他的价值观是扭曲的。他的把重点放在他的作为,而不是他的性格。

即使是在上帝面前,他也无法在自己生命的表面下审视自己,看清自己到底是谁。我们是否能够像上帝看到我们一样,在表面之下看到我们自己的所有缺点?

税吏的名声与法利赛人则完全相反。他们被认为是民族的叛徒,腐败的人格和宗教不洁,因此受到其他正派人物的回避。

当他接近上帝时,他是怎样的态度?

他站在远处,站在边缘,因为他觉得自己在上帝面前毫无价值。他甚至连举目望天也不敢,这是一种内疚的肢体语言,他只捶着胸说、 “神阿、开恩可怜我这个罪人!”他表现出谦逊、破碎和悔改。

借此,他表明他知道,在上帝面前,不可能有伪装。他没有提供任何借口,因为这是徒劳的。他向上帝寻求赎罪的怜悯并得到了。

耶稣以“我告诉你们、这人回家去、比那法利赛人倒算为义了。”结束这个比喻。由于税吏的真诚和上帝的恩典,祂不仅宽恕了税吏,还称他为义,并与他建立了正确的关系。

我今天的祷告:天父,我感谢你,每当我来到祢面前时,祢都能看到我内心的态度。求祢洁净我的心,洁净我的双手,使我可以被祢所用。奉耶稣的名。阿门。