Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness, “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity…”
With all this talk about either being in the 99% or in the 1%, I would like to remind everyone out there that we all make up 100% of the sinners! That’s right; we all make up the rest of humanity.
We all sin, but we do not all confess our sins. Confessing one’s sins is something that only the humble of heart do; and “Blessed are they.”
The Lord loves the meek and humble of heart. He loves the poor in spirit. The humble man is certainly not the fake man or necessarily the honest man or the poor man or the sick man. A humble man is someone who knows that they are a sinner and that they need a Savior. Is this you?
Not too long ago, an elderly gentleman walked into my office and asked to speak to me. I could tell from the look on his face that something was very much bothering me. After a few minutes of some small talk, he finally told me what was on his mind. He told me that his daughter never calls him or sends him a card on his birthday. He said, “I’ve kind of grown used to it by now, but lately, it has been bothering me more and more. I want to know what I did wrong. I want to know why she does this to me. I’m upset and I want her to know it! When I ask her, she always seems to have some sort of excuse for not calling or mailing me a card. But I don’t buy it.”
I asked this man about his past: his relationship with his wife and children. He was honest and admitted that he had made mistakes; that he had not been the best of fathers. When he has young, he put his job and career above everything and everyone, including his wife and children. He had also engaged in some destructive behavior that included alcohol.
“Ok”, I told him, “Are you ready to make amends with your daughter?” “Yes, Father”, he replied. “Then this is what I recommend. Write her a letter for your birthday. Let her know how much you love her. Write to her and say, ‘My dearest daughter, I love you with all my heart. You are the greatest gift I ever received. As I celebrate my birthday and look back on my life, I want you to know that I could not have received a more precious gift, a more meaningful gift, a more beautiful gift then the gift of your life in my life…’”
To my joy, he took my advice and wrote his own letter in his own words a few days before his birthday. As an answer to his prayers, it worked. He received a beautiful card from his daughter on his birthday. But more importantly, he got his daughter back again.
The Tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven. Sin brings us so far down that we can’t even raise our eyes, let alone raise them to heaven!
He beat his breast and prayed. “I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
The Tax Collector went to the temple and prayed. Humble people do not avoid God. Those who say that they are unworthy to go to Church are just as evil as those who say they don’t go to Church because it is full of hypocrites (unworthy people)!
A prideful man breaks away from the crowd. A remorseful man walks through the crowd. A sinful man walks away from the Lord. A humble man walks straight to the Lord.