In Jesus’ story from Luke 18, we see a very confident religious man praying/bragging about his righteous deeds! He isn’t guilty of any of the highly visible sins like murder or robbery. He is faithful to the outward practices of fasting and tithing so that everyone can see his piety. On the other hand we have a tax collector, a criminal in this society. He is despised and guilty, yet he honestly confesses his sin to God and is made right with God because of his humble repentance. He goes home forgiven!
Luke 18:10-14; Matt 23:23; Luke 23:48; 2 Cor 5:17; Ps 32:5; Micah 7:19
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his chest and said, ‘God, have mercy on me a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
It’s easy to list all the bad things we don’t do (things others are doing) and to list all the good things we do to our credit! However, what we do or don’t do won’t make us right with God. Our relationship with God is made right and stays right when we have a humble heart before a HOLY and BIG God who is able to bury our sins in the depths of the sea and to forget them! God knows our heart. We only need to be open and honest with him and to ask for his forgiveness. It is available anytime, anywhere, no matter what!
Is there sin in your life that you are denying? Do you excuse sinful behavior to make yourself feel better? Do you recount all the good things you do as a distraction from the reality of sin in your life? Are you suffering from sins past even though you’ve asked for forgiveness?
Openly and honestly confess your sins to God. Make a list (mental or actual) of the areas in your life where you need a reality check and forgiveness. Call sin “sin”! Don’t allow Satan to nag and plague you with past sins that are forgiven.
Lord, let my life be open and honest in your sight. I need your forgiveness daily as I try to live a life that is pleasing to you. Thank you for loving me unreservedly! In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!