The Humble Hooker

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“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise 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, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” Luke 18:9-14

A woman hooked on hooking, otherwise known as a prostitute, wrote me once. The prostitution wasn’t the whole of it, as she had plenty of other troubles. Just like we all do. Maybe not all of us are hooked on hooking, and on drugs, and have a virus that can turn deadly, and are locked up in a jail cell like she was when she wrote me, but every one of us humans has the same fundamental problem. Every single one of us humans is a sinner. A sinner against God. We are born into a world of sin, and we are born with a sin nature. Our sin separates us from God almighty forever, and the end result of our sin is the curse of death, hell, and the lake of fire, or, in plain English, everlasting torment away from God. But this woman when she wrote me anyway had something not all of us have. Something every one of us needs no matter our stories, no matter our sin. Not even all of us who have stories that aren’t as “big” as hers, as obvious, as glaring, as perhaps “unpalatable” in the world’s eyes, as hers. If we’re honest with ourselves, we tend to judge others for their sin sometimes, don’t we? Like ours “isn’t so bad”, if we even admit we’re sinners at all. What did this woman have at the time she wrote me that we all need? She knew she had a problem, with sin, she knew she needed the Lord, she wanted help in following Him, and she had no trouble in her letter making known her need for the Lord nor making known her need for help from someone that could help her follow Him. She had humility – before God, and before man.

Some of us with “straight laced” stories, who aren’t hooked on prostitution and drugs and such, who haven’t contracted potentially deadly viruses as a direct result of our sin, who don’t live inside the confines of an ugly and sterile, depressing jail cell, whose sin may not be as “flagrant” as hers, because it’s not as frowned upon by the world, or perhaps simply because we’re holding it “secret” to ourselves, need precisely what this self-professed hooker had when she wrote me. Humility. This humble hooker reminded me of the tax collector in the verses above whose very profession back then was apparently greatly frowned upon but who instead of being prideful like the Pharisee who pretended he had it altogether, was so conscious of his need for the Lord’s mercy, so acknowledging of his sin and need for forgiveness, that he beat upon his chest and couldn’t even look up in his cry for the Lord’s loving forgiveness.

Which one do you suppose the Lord honors? The hooker who knows she needs the Lord and desires to learn to follow Him, or someone who acts like he or she has it all together, who feels he or she is good enough, not as bad as others, who self-righteously and pridefully sees no need for the Lord Jesus Christ or much of a need for Him anyway? Which one did Christ honor? The humble tax collector willing to repent or the prideful and arrogant Pharisee who acted like he was good enough without Christ? The Lord answers the cries of the  humble and repentant. He answers the cries of those who know they need Him, who believe in Him, who desire His mercy and to follow Him.

Which one are you? Believing in and following Christ for the promise of an everlasting relationship with the Lord begins with repenting of our sins and giving our lives to Christ and continues with continually repenting as the Lord ever conforms us to Himself and draws us ever closer to Himself in forever fellowship with Him.

Sin is sin is sin, and it all needs to be repented of, and forgiveness only comes from God through Christ, and the place to begin is for each and every one of us to humbly come before the Lord crying out for mercy, believing Jesus is Lord and died on the cross and was raised from the dead  to pay the price for our sin of God’s wrath at us and the punishment that comes with it so we can have God’s mercy when we humbly repent and turn to Him, devoting our hearts and lives to God and His ways.

Only the Lord knows the heart of the woman who wrote me. He knows whether she sees herself as a sinner in need of Him. He knows if she has repented or still needs to repent. He knows what help she needs in believing in Him and learning to follow Him. But this message isn’t about the humble hooker, nor about the tax collector and the Pharisee. It’s about you and me and us all – how we all need to repent and turn to Christ and give our lives to Him and learn to follow Him forever.

Where do you stand in the way of humility?

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