I was reading about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14 this morning. The Pharisees prayer always makes me shake my head…
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ ”
Contrast this with the Tax Collectors prayer a few verses later…
13?“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’
Jesus goes on to say that the Tax Collector went home right with God that day. I really liked the notes from the LASB on these verses…
18:11-14 The Pharisee did not go to the Temple to pray to God but to announce to all within earshot how good he was. The tax collector went recognizing his sin and begging for mercy. Self-righteousness is dangerous. It leads to pride, causes a person to despise others, and prevents him or her from learning anything from God. The tax collector’s prayer should be our prayer because we all need God’s mercy every day. Don’t let pride in your achievements cut you off from God.
As I type I am reminded of 1 John 1:9. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
It is far better to acknowledge our imperfections and sin before God and ask for forgiveness. We can’t be like the Pharisee and be cut off from God. Humble confession is always the best option.