Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “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 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.’
“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.”
“…great confidence in their own righteousness …”,”…scorned everyone else…”I do this, I do that, I don’t…, I am better… Ah, the glorified self, glorified by self!
Then there is reality and seeing clearly our position in life in relation to God and others. Who among us can add a day to our own life, created as God did? We are responsible to develop and care for what we have been given, but the material to work with and the ability is not of our own creation. So even with success it is good to remember our source and give credit where it is due. We can because he did. Our confidence rests in who we are in Him, not in ourselves. Humility sees clearly and lets the justification and exaltation come from the Creator, not ourselves.