“The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men…’” (Luke 18:11)
“But the tax collector […] beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13)
The Lord Jesus told many parables to clarify spiritual lessons. Luke 18 describes one such story that Jesus spoke “to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9). This attitude shows pride toward God and fellow men. The Pharisee in the story “went up into the temple to pray.” But actually, he did not pray to God at all; he just praised himself! He didn’t ask for mercy because he was unaware he needed it. His ‘prayer’ served no purpose other than his glory.
The tax collector in the story was very different. He was ashamed of his sin, tried to remain unnoticed in a corner of the temple, and did not dare to approach the Lord God either. But he had to because he desperately needed God’s grace! He just poured out his heart before God. His humble prayer was answered: “This man went down to his house justified” (Luke 18:14).
Every person needs grace, for no one is righteous in God’s eyes by himself. The Lord offers grace abundantly. Don’t let your pride get in the way of gratefully accepting His offer!