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Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Humility is not a bad thing; indeed, we should all strive for it. But beating up the Pharisees isn’t the way to be humble. When we do that, we are also saying, “God, I thank you that I am not like him.” The gospel in this parable is the simplicity and brilliance of the prayer of the tax collector: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
There is no artifice or pride in the tax collector’s prayer, no attempts at excuse or obfuscation, just confession and oblation: God, I have sinned. Please take my sinful self as an offering to your mercy. It is the only thing I have to offer you worthy of your grace. May we be humble enough to pray along with him.
MOVING FORWARD: Pray along with the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Let this be your prayer during your quiet time today.