In the gospel, we have this extreme contrast; one full of pride and one who humbles himself.
Obviously, we want to be like a humble person, not the Pharisee. So how does this scripture apply to me?
How am I better move to humbling myself and trusting in the Lord and His mercy? When we trust ourselves, we move away from God and toward self-righteousness.
The Pharisee's list of accomplishments are impressive, but he lists these things in order to exalt himself. Are there ways that I try to impress God? Do I compare myself to others so that I can say I’m not as bad as that person or I’m better than that person? When we do this we say, I don’t need that much mercy, but that is false.
We need God’s mercy! In contrast, the tax collector pours out his heart to God, beating his chest, admitting he is a sinner.
The tax collector doesn’t compare himself to anyone else. He went home pleasing in the sight of God. When we worship God, we humble ourselves. The Lord wants to give us mercy.
In our humility, we are moved to do good deeds and these good deeds are pleasing to God if we don’t exalt ourselves when doing these deeds.
Three practical steps we can do to humble ourselves to receive God’s mercy:
1. We need to recognize that we are a sinner and that we need God’s mercy.
2. We need to receive God’s mercy. He wants us to receive it.
3. We need to extend mercy.
As we receive mercy from God, it strengthens our faith and in turn, we can extend mercy.
From a grateful faith, I become merciful.