‘Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. 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.” I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Luke 18:10-14 NLT). The lesson in this story is: God has more tolerance for an honest sinner than a self-righteous Christian. When the Pharisee was congratulating himself for the sins he didn’t commit – cheating, adultery, etc. – he was guilty of the sin of spiritual pride. He saw himself as a model of perfection, with no flaws, but in reality, we know that nobody except God is perfect. So, what good behaviour is a source of pride to you? Do you measure others by your standard? Do you measure yourself against God’s standard? The truth is that the only thing that makes any of us acceptable to God is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. ‘God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT). The righteousness that saves us is a gift – it isn’t something we’ve earned. So don’t be like the Pharisee!