9He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Two worlds come together in one place. The perfect man stands and declares his perfection. He is righteous. He is a self-loving, arrogant man who does everything right in his eyes. God does not see this man. This man does not see God. He is alone in his universe unaware of anything but himself and his ill-conceived perfection. The depth of his soul is so shallow. He stands and prays to the emptiness.
The other man stands distant from the center, but he is in the center. He is humble. He beats his breast because he knows that within is the sinner.
God hates pride and loves humility. It is the absolute submission that brings this man closest to God. It is not where one stands in the temple. It is not anything that he does in his life that is good and righteous that brings him close to God. It is absolute submission to God. To do anything without God is to do nothing. Admissions of sinfulness, admission of guilt, admission of need are the keys to being right with God. Empty yourself of yourself.
Prayer: Lord and Master, I pray for your forgiveness. I try not to sin. I try not to be disobedient. Amen