9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
The tragedy of self-righteousness is the offender rarely recognizes it in himself! The root of self-righteousness is pride; the remedy is humility before God and before men. Pride can persuade us to compare ourselves with others and take comfort that we are “not like other men”. But, we are not. All of us have sinned and all of us need God’s mercy and grace. Only a humble heart that trusts God will obtain His mercy. Put your faith in God, not yourself. Do His will, not your own. The Lord will exalt you when you humble yourself before Him.