I had gone to the temple for prayer. It was a cool night, and I was excited to go on the walk. I wasn’t feeling well, and I was hoping for a miracle.
While deep in thought, I almost missed the entrance. I walked up slowly. I heard voices. I didn’t want to be rude, and disturb anyone.
I walked in and what I saw puzzled me.
A man, I knew as a Pharisee, was praying aloud. He stood alone. His voice was unsympathetic, and sure. He even had a smile upon his face.
He looked up into the night, and said, “ God? I thank you that I am not like other people-robbers, evildoers, adulterers- or even like this tax collector!” He pointed to the back of the temple, with disgust.
There in the dark, in the back of the room on his knees, was a man.
The Pharisee continued his prayer. “I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of all I get!”
He stood, arrogantly, and walked slowly back and forth. I watched as his robe moved slowly upon the stones, and his shawl was covered tight upon his head. I looked back to the man.
He hid in the shadows. His hands covered his head. He wouldn’t even look up. Not to the Pharisee, or to Heaven. Suddenly he yelled, “God!”
He beat his breast hard. He wailed. “God? Have mercy on me…I am a sinner.”
He bowed his head as tears streamed from his eyes. His body shook with emotion, and fear.
At first I was angered.
A tax collector is nothing but a thief. I thought of how they stole so much from my family. How could God even love a man like this? I looked at the religious man. I knew he loved God, honored God, and dedicated his life to God. But he was so proud… My stomach turned, as I heard him boast about himself. Again, I looked at the tax collector. I had sympathy, and my heart broke for him. I knew. He was humbled where the Pharisee was exalting himself.
I couldn’t help but feel that God heard the tax collector, ever so clearly. To the Pharisee, He did not. I walked out of the temple. Even forgetting to pray. I learned a lot from that night. I learned that being humble is so much more precious to God, than pride.
Taken from Luke 18:10-14