It is a wonderful parable.
It tells it of two men who “went up to pray,” – one who wants to show off how righteous he is before God – and the other you feels unworthy to do anything but seek God’s mercy and grace.
According to Jesus, the one who went home from the temple “justified” before God was the repentant sinner – not the one who believed he was so righteous.
I love that parable because in such simple, understandable terms, it cuts to the core of humanity’s problem – our incessant pride.
It ruins dreams, marriages, careers, churches, communities, nations – pride – our insistence that we are “right” and others are “wrong.”
The truly justified one is the one who prays in the heartfelt way what has become known as “The Jesus Prayer.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.”
Pray that regularly – honestly – openly – quietly – without fanfare and with no pretense whatsoever.
And God will hear that prayer. God will answer that prayer. God will welcome you home.
Again, and again.
Thanks be to God.