Avoiding Self-Deception

My Friend, Jim Van Yperen, author of Making Peace, has written the following Lenten Meditation. It beings with a story by Jesus . . .

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’  But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 18:10-14

crown-of-thorns

For the sin of self-deception

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only,

deceiving yourselves. 

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,

he is like a man who looks intently

at his natural face in a mirror. 

For he looks at himself and goes away

and at once forgets what he was like. 

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (James 1:22 24)

Forgive me, Lord.

For self-absorption

            of my mirrored self

            reflected in another

For false pride and

fake humility

In this season of preparation

            and examination,

            and liberation

Make me

            no hearer only

But blessed

            doer of your will

Amen.

About the author

Chris Castaldo (PhD, London School of Theology) is the lead pastor at New Covenant Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Talking with Catholics about the Gospel and coauthor of The Unfinished Reformation.