Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Here pride goes to church. It still does. In the hearts of those who are confident of their own righteousness and look down on everybody else!
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. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
The Pharisee was proud of himself. That’s because he compares himself to those who are more sinful. Then for good measure, he reminds God of some good things he does.
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.”
The tax collector, on the other hand, knows who he is. He knows this because He is honest about his own life. And He is focused on the holiness of God.
Pride withers away when faced with the absolute rightness of God. The only way pride goes to church is when we don’t see God there. For if we focus on Him, we all know who we are.
It's true. Some Christians live more holy lives than others. But the greater truth is everyone lives so very far below the standard of God’s perfect holiness that comparisons with others are silly.
No doubt, a person standing on top of Mt. Everest is higher than a person standing at sea level. Yet if the distant surface of the moon is the point of reference, then the difference in height between the two people standing on earth is negligible.
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.