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
Lord God, how easy it is for me to fall into the sin of pride and self-righteous. I can mentally rank sins and decide mine aren’t as bad as those of other people—the evil people I read about in the news and the sinful people I see around me every day. Yet to You, there are no degrees of sin. If I violate Your law, if I separate myself from You by my actions, if I put the cares and pleasures of the world before You—I sin. And the wages of sin is death. Yet You are merciful to forgive my sins, to cleanse my of all unrighteousness, and give me eternal life. God, be merciful to me, a sinner! In Jesus’ name. Amen.