Many want others to say they are good. Some seek Botox, liposuction, or self-esteem therapy. Others fight to get into a good school or company. Some seek a trophy wife, while others go so far as to kill themselves, as in the Japanese practice of seppuku.
As we age, such desires are met differently—from being recognized as brave, smart, or good, to attaining financial or other success in the society.
Many strive to earn praise from an important person. Disappointment kicks in when they find out the person is not that important, or the person is not good enough to judge them. In the end, they may not even know what they want.
We want someone big to approve of us. But the biggest is God. The Bible explains that God’s approval is won in being righteous before God. Let’s learn from Luke 18:9-14, where a Pharisee considered himself righteous.
The Pharisee prayed. He started with thanking God, but immediately turned to declaring himself better than others. He used his own metrics to determine himself being better: He was not a robber or an adulterer, he fasted twice a week, and he gave away 10 percent of his earnings (v11-12).
His metrics included fasting, which was a cultural or a personal preference. The Pharisee set his own rules, and he relied on them to feel good about himself and look down on others.
Then a tax collector prayed. In those days, tax collectors were considered evil, like gangsters. He knew he was bad, and he asked for God’s mercy.
In the end, the Pharisee (the good one) was lost, while the tax collector (the bad one) was accepted by God (v14).
Don’t lean on your behavior. Look at Christ’s life. Our behaviors are so far off.
Instead, rely on God’s mercy. Rely on the death on the cross of His only Son. Only then can we find God’s approval. In spite of all our flaws, we still can be His wonderful children!
Don’t set up your own rules to determine what is good and bad. Instead, trust God and use His rules.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon, titled, “Inside out living.”
大多数人都希望别人说自己的好。有些人因此寻求去皱菌、吸脂或自尊疗法. 其他人争取进入好学校或大公司，或者娶得一个最佳老婆. 有些人甚至走极端去自杀, 日本的seppuku(破腹)就是一例。
那个法利赛人自言自语地祷告，开始先感谢上帝，随即却转而表扬自己如何比别人好，用自定的标准来证明自己的优越: 我不是强盗或淫乱之人, 我每周禁食两次，我捐献收入的十分之一 （路加福音18:11-12）。 他的自我衡量包括禁食，一种文化或个人偏好。这个法利赛人制定了一系列自己的规则，倚靠它们使自己感觉良好，并且看不起别人。