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The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Rabel)

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This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture 39 given on April 15, 1976

Luke 18:9-14, pp. 237-238 of transcript.

18:9And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought: 18:10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 18:11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:12I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. 18:13But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. 18:14I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

He gives another parable in Luke 18:9-14. This, of course, contains many elements that were in that parable about the feast and the chief seats and all that. In this famous parable, Jesus is exposing the futility of trying to establish our status in the eyes of God by comparing ourselves with others in order to gain an advantage, the belief that "I am good because there are others worse than me." Follow the logic of reasoning in a sentence like that. Now, in the realm of fact and statistics, could this be true? Yes, of course. "I am good because I don't beat my wife the way that man does. "I am good because..." and then start pointing fingers. Or, "I am superior because there are others inferior." It has a ring of logic to it, but a false logic. This kind of an attitude, especially in spiritual things, in prayer or in meditation or in self-observation is completely fallacious, which will make a mockery of any prayer spoken with that attitude.

Now, what is the Truth about a thing like this? Each human being has the same on the spiritual scale of values. That status is neither inferior or superior or worthy or unworthy, not even good or bad. The only status any human being has in spiritual value is individuality. That is all. You don't have any ratings compared to anyone else. You have one rating only in spirit, individuality. If this is so, what then determines our worth or unworth or good or bad or whatever, even in the cosmic sense, not comparing, now. The state of your awareness, which is strictly a personal, individual thing. That is part of individuality.

Spirit or divine law or karma or whatever you want to call it does not judge a person according to how he compares with anyone else but only according to his state of awareness as an individual. So self-improvement should be a matter of self-improvement, nothing to do with better than-ness. Otherwise, we are not justified. We will not find our own justice, if we do not have that only just attitude. Of course if you want to nitpick here, you can also see an attitude in this publican which does not sound too healthy, but he was better off than the other guy. Let me tell you something: you are in a far, far better position if you have an inferiority complex than you are if you have a superiority complex. If you have to take one or the other, please take the inferiority, because you will be lifted up.

There is a divine idea in God Mind called help, and if you are in the inferiority complex state, you will be lifted up; but woe if you are in the superiority complex state, because for your own highest good, your help is going to come also by a form of bringing you down, by revealing some painful facts about yourself. Some of these facts, while they are for our highest good, hurt like hell. So do not pity the poor inferiority-complex-person. If you are going to pity, pity the superiority complex. For the inferiority guy, all the things he has to learn are going to be pleasant things. The superiority complex guy has only unpleasant things to learn, which is simply, "You're wrong, kid, you have a wrong image about yourself."

Text of the original transcript of third paragraph of p.237 through the 1st paragraph of p.238.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-10-2014