And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” ~ Luke 18:9-14
It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people and see ourselves as much more righteous. Elsewhere Jesus told us to take the log out of our own eye so we could see the speck in our brother’s eye. We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their results. Yet even our best is filthy rags in view of the pure holiness of God. He wants us to acknowledge our sinfulness, to repent, to humble ourselves.
Lord, please forgive me for my pride and self-righteousness. In the presence of Your holiness, I cannot lift my eyes. God, be merciful to me, the sinner! In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.