To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
God Have Mercy On Me
I am not confident of my own righteousness.
I do a lot of good things, and I belong to organizations that do a lot of good things. I like to think that God likes me and thinks I’m a pretty good guy.
But then I look at what it takes to please a perfect God. I hear that not only my actions but my thoughts have to be right all the time, and I begin to doubt myself. And then I think about times when I could have done good things but didn’t get around to doing them, and I just shake my head. How could God like me when I have messed up so many times and in so many ways?
Jesus told the story about someone who was confident in his own righteousness, and who was apparently a pretty good guy. But that’s not the person Jesus commended. Instead, he commended the person who said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
That’s the person I want to be, and that’s actually the person I am. I am a sinner. I realize this, and I throw myself on the mercy of God. I trust that he has declared me to be righteous through the life and death of Jesus, and that’s all I need. I go home today right with God, humbled and exalted.
God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.