Two men went to the temple. Both were there to pray.
One was a man composed, the other in disarray.
The first was a man blinded by pride, his prayer revealing how he felt inside.
The second man was shamed by sin, expressing deep sorrow for what he had been.
Jesus listened to each man’s prayer, looked in his heart and saw what was there.
The first man felt quite impressive; his religious deeds were aggressive.
He always placed the tithe in the treasure and fasted weekly just for good measure.
He looked all around, considered the men; felt fairly sure he was better than them.
There before him were thieves and molesters. He especially despised that tax collector.
The Pharisee stood up (so all could hear) and cried to the Lord in front of his peers,
“O Lord, I’m glad I’m not like them,” (then named every sin he could condemn.)
The Pharisee felt he should be adored, but he brought no joy to the heart of the Lord.
His self-righteous prayer was ignorant and cruel. The sad truth is this: he was a fool.
The other man fixed his eyes on the ground. He didn’t look up or look around.
“Forgive me O God. Lord, I implore thee; my sinful deeds are ever before me.”
He beat his chest as he poured out his plea. A more repentant sinner one could not see.
Jesus was impressed by the sinner sincere, his contrition authentic; his confession clear.
Here are some thoughts that come from this story: Humble yourself, give God the glory.
Since we see that God hates pride, take control of your life; don’t let it preside.
God loves those whose heart is contrite, broken vessels who want to get right.
“O Lord My God, this I pray, remove sinful pride and cleanse me today. “
10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men — robbers, evildoers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "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.’ 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”(NIV)
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