Luke 18:9-14 (CEV)
A Pharisee and a Tax Collector
9 Jesus told a story to some people who thought they were better than others and who looked down on everyone else:
10 Two men went into the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood over by himself and prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not greedy, dishonest, and unfaithful in marriage like other people. And I am really glad that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I go without eating for two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all I earn.”
13 The tax collector stood off at a distance and did not think he was good enough even to look up toward heaven. He was so sorry for what he had done that he pounded his chest and prayed, “God, have pity on me! I am such a sinner.”
14 Then Jesus said, “When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.”
Don’t look at him God, look at me.
Look at all I do for you, all I give, how I live. I do all the right things, live a moral and upright life, I am perfect. I am so pleased with myself.
He however! Well his life is nothing to look at is it? A tax collector, the lowest of the low. I’m surprised you can bear to have him in your sight – I’m not sure I can. I am so pure and holy, his very presence might soil me. Really Lord, if only everyone were like me, how much better the world would be.
Oh Lord, don’t look at me. I know I’m not worthy, not fit to be here.
I have got so many things wrong, failed miserably at so much, my life is such a mess. I am not good enough even to be in your presence. Yet, I come Lord, because I know that only you can help me. Have pity on me. I plead for your mercy, because I know my actions aren’t enough.
Who had the right attitude about themselves? Which man was allowing God into their lives to change them and make a difference? Which one could God help?
When the two men went home, it was the tax collector and not the Pharisee who was pleasing to God. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honoured.
I come to you
knowing that I have not got everything right in my life,
but knowing that only you can help me,
knowing that you accept me no matter what,
and welcome me to help me.
Forgive me Lord
the times when I’ve thought my ways were good,
that I have nothing to be sorry for,
when I am full of myself
and take pride in that.
I come to you,
I need you,
I pray for you to change me
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