“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13)!
Unlike the Pharisees — and other religious types who find their security and assurance in expressions of piety that so quickly profess the sins of others (v.11) while failing to confess their own, and the accompanying incessant need to list their virtues (v.12) — the tax collector postures himself to experience God’s grace by bringing nothing to the table. Not only is he a sinner, he is the sinner that embodies everything the religiously self-satisfied despise. He doesn’t diminish others for the sake of elevating himself, but he rightly pays no attention to anyone else while focusing on his sinful condition before God. We should do so well.