Jesus shares a parable today about a Pharisee who in praying thanked God that “I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.” In the parable, there was also a tax collector as the Pharisee mentioned that “would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”
This Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from the Gospel of Luke 18 reminds me that I have been both the Pharisee and the Tax Collector throughout my journey with the Lord. I am reminded that no matter how close I think I am with the Lord, how great my prayer life is or even how blessed I think I am, I cannot be the Pharisee. The following words from Jesus encourage me to be a humble sinner like the Tax Collector as He says, “I tell you, the latter (Tax Collector) went home justified, not the former (Pharisee); for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I can never know the heart and soul of a person. Only God knows. If I humble myself, there will never be a need to judge another but only to love my neighbor as Jesus has commanded. In honesty and truth, I have no room to judge another’s heart or intentions. I will need to leave that for the Lord.