“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were
righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the
temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee,
standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other
men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice
a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off,
would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be
merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified,
rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the
one who humbles himself will be exalted.””
Luke 18:9-14 ESV
If I was to ask you if you are a good person, I am fairly confident you would say
you are. At least you are not committing crimes or perhaps Sins that others are
committing. You try your best every day. You give to the Church. You take care
of your family. You work hard to provide. You try to speak well of others.
What about the person who sees themselves as a sinner like the tax collector
(who were seen at the time as swindlers)? In this parable, the tax collector could
not even stomach looking up to the heavens because he saw himself as unclean.
He didn't compare himself to others. He simply acknowledged his uncleanness.
He asked God to have mercy on him with a shameful heart. Yet, Jesus says it's
the tax collector who is justified before God?
God has mercy for those who see themselves as sinners. They aren't comparing
themselves to others. They aren't making excuses for their sin. They don't think
one sin is smaller or greater than others. They aren't saying they are good. They
aren't making themselves feel better by thinking they are good.
“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For
there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and
are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ
Romans 3:22-24 ESV
I am not a good person. I gave fallen many times from the glory of God. I
continue to do so in thought and sometimes deed. I do not compare myself to
others because only God’s judgment matters. I must huddle close to Christ
because of my imperfections. I cannot and will never reach anywhere near
God’s glory. All I can give is to try my best and even that is short of God’s
I used to think I was a good person and perhaps on this earth I might be able to
say that is true. However, I have gradually learned I must remain humble before
the Lord. Thinking I am a good person is a fallacy. Saying others think I am a
good person is also a fallacy because only God judges me. What I and others
think does not matter. by Kent Brosh a Kawaiaha’o Blog Contributor