The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “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 18:9–14
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
We can always find someone we think is a worse sinner than we are. It’s not hard, the world is filled with many evil people who commit evil acts. But we should always remember that while we are looking at others and judging them as more reprobate, there is always someone else looking at us and our actions in the same way. For we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and therefore we all deserve eternal punishment in hell. We must always remember if not for the grace of God and His sending Christ Jesus we would be forever lost and condemned, excluded from God’s righteousness. The Pharisee excludes himself from God’s gift of righteousness, while the penitent tax collector embraces it. Let this serve as a warning to beware of the complacency of measuring our goodness against others. We don’t measure our goodness against others lack for goodness, but instead we measure ourselves against God’s standards. And when we do so we are left with no other option than to repent. God is ready to justify the worst of sinners by His generous grace in Christ. So we pray that God would be merciful to us, poor miserable sinners.
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