During the American Revolution, a man on a horse rode past a group of soldiers struggling to fix a wall. Their leader was shouting orders but not helping them. The rider asked the leader why he did not help his men. The proud leader said, “Sir, I’m a corporal!” The stranger got down and helped the exhausted men. When he was done, he turned to their leader and said, “Mr. Corporal, next time you have a job like this and not enough men, come get me, your commander-in-chief. I’ll help them. The man who spoke was George Washington.” That proud corporal was similar to that Pharisee Jesus told about in the Temple (Luke Chapter 18). He boasted about his own good works: ‘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.” He was using others as his standard of righteousness. But the tax collector used God as his measure of righteousness. He stood at a distance and did not lift his eyes to heaven as the prayed. Instead, he pleaded ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am as sinner.’ Jesus said, ‘This sinner, not the Pharisee, went home justified before God.’” God still looks for people who measure themselves, not by others, but by God’s perfect standards and humbly come to Jesus for forgiveness.
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