The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’”
(Luke 18:11-13 NLT)
A few years ago, I learned the true meaning of the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I had misjudged someone’s love for God because they didn’t seem like the typical Christian to me. In Luke chapter 18, Jesus told a story about two men who went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, a religious leader, and the other a tax collector, a man not highly regarded by many because of his occupation. Those looking on the outside would have most likely assumed that the Pharisee’s prayer was more acceptable to God, but they couldn’t be more wrong. When they began to pray, it was the tax collector’s prayer that was pleasing to God and not the Pharisee’s.
Things aren’t always as they seem.