“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.”
I’ve always been fascinated by this lesson from Jesus.
The pride of one and humility of the other.
The boasting of one and the contrite heart of the other.
The Pharisee might speak the truth. Perhaps he was never an extortioner or adulterer, or unjust.
But God is not concerned with how we have not sinned.
He is concerned with how we have sinned.
I can brag I never did drugs. I never physically killed anyone. I never physically committed adultery.
But what have I done?
I have lied.
I have stolen things… but they weren’t big things. And no one really missed it. (that’s a lame excuse)
The other man in the story admitted his sinful condition and asked for mercy.
He did not mention any specific sin or compare himself to anyone else.
He just begged for God’s grace.
The self-righteous feel good about themselves when they compare their life to the lives of others.
However, it is written that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.