He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people:
"Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man.
The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: 'Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people - robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man.
I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.'
"Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, 'God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.'"
Jesus commented, "This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face, but if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)