For our focus on repentance today, let’s look at Luke 18:11, 13, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men…even this tax collector. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”
Here in this story we see two extremes of people coming to church and praying to God. The Pharisee has a lot going for him and he seems to be thankful for what he has, but Jesus exposes him for the proud hypocrite that he is. The tax collector, meanwhile, is generally disliked by the public and may even be stepping into church for the very first time. But then there is the third person of the story – and that would be each one of us.
We readily praise the honesty and humility of the tax collector and condemn the haughtiness of the Pharisee, but the story might not stick to us because we generally place ourselves somewhere in between these two. We’re not the greedy outcasts of society who sleep in every Sunday, but we’re also not pompous and looking down on everyone else. so we don’t think we need to repent of just liking God and generally doing most of what He asks us to do. After all, no one’s perfect. even the Pharisee would agree with that. But know this, that we can’t get to where God wants us if we don’t confess to where we are. Love the Lord with all your heart, and cry out for mercy each time you don’t.
As we pray today, ask God to show us where we fit into this story. Ask Him to give us more love for Him.