In Luke 18, two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The religious Pharisee prayed with himself that he was not like other men who were extortioners, adulterers, or like this tax collector. The tax collector simply said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The proud Pharisee had a barrier of religious works that kept him from God, so he judged others and prayed with himself. The humble tax man understood God’s holiness and punishment for sin, so he judged himself and looked for mercy.
How do we treat our enemies? God freely forgives His enemies who turn to Him for forgiveness. We are all enemies and a time must come when we judge ourselves as the wicked person that we are. In this state of mind, we are able to see that Christ has paid the price for our forgiveness. This turning or change of mind is repentance.
It is man’s nature to think better of ourselves than of others. What do we think when we hear of an act of terrorism happening. “How could those people do such a thing?” What we are implying is that we would never do anything like that because we are good people. But the truth is that the source of their evil acts resides in the heart of every man, woman and child on earth. Romans 5:12. To receive mercy from God, we need to repent, change our thinking about ourselves before God and judge our sin like the tax collector did.
Lewellyn Tewksbury, June 11, 2016