For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Haven't we sometimes said about someone: "He/she is a big show-off"? One of the men in the parable Jesus told in Luke 18:9-14 was a big 'show-off'. He was very religious and he wanted everyone to know it; he was a religious leader and proud of it; he told God about all the extra-good things he did so God would take notice. He felt himself a 'cut above' the rest and had a place for himself to pray a bit apart from the other 'common' people.
The other man in Jesus's story felt he had nothing to boast about. In fact he was depressed to his boots. People called him a sinner and that was how he felt in his heart before God, and he called out to God for mercy.
The story of these two men touched a raw nerve in several of those listening to Jesus — those who trusted in themselves that they were OK with God and who treated men like this 'sinner' with contempt.
But before we condemn people who think like that, let's take a look into our own hearts. How, do we think, God sees us? Does he see us as being 'show-offs', thinking we are better than we really are; purer in our thoughts, kinder with our own words, with a love for those crying out for salvation? Looking through the eyes of God may be a humbling experience, one that we need!
Dear Lord, forgive my pride and have mercy upon me. Amen.