Luke 18:9-14 (NLT)
9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 �Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: �I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don�t cheat, I don�t sin, and I don�t commit adultery. I�m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.� 13 �But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, �O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.� 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.�

Jesus told this parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector to teach us humility and for humiliation of sin revealed in prayer. Pharisees thought themselves to be strict followers of the law who did no wrong. The tax collector on the other hand was considered the lowest of the low by most people for having an unscrupulous character. In these verses the Pharisee boldly enters the holy temple and praises himself to God. The tax collector stood afar from the temple not daring to approach what was considered holy ground for he knew himself to be filled with sin. In truth we are all filled with sin and it was the tax collector who humbled himself as a sinner crying out for mercy from God. Jesus then states, �those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those humble themselves will be exalted.�

Let�s face the truth; there is not a single person alive on this earth that does not commit sin in some fashion or form. Romans 3:23 tells us, �For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.� So it doesn�t matter who you are or how religious you think you are; you are a sinner. Jesus proved that point when religious leaders brought a woman to him caught in the midst of adultery. He said to them, �He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.� What was the result? Everyone was convicted of their sin, even those who thought they were set apart as being holy and righteous. They all departed leaving Jesus alone with the woman they were so willing to destroy because they were suddenly humbled. There are many today who think they are holy and righteous and take up stances against those who �they� believe are sinners. We are told to be careful how we point out another�s sin because of our own sins. We are told we can reprimand a Christian who has fallen into sin, but we are also to lead them back, and forgive their sins. For the non-Christian we are always to act out of love and mercy so we might lead them to Christ. Humble yourself before God knowing you are a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. Extend the grace and mercy God offers you to others and love them instead of condemning them.