We don’t have to wait until we are better people before we go to God. He invites us to come, dirt and all. In fact, it is our recognition of the failure of all our self-improvement programs that humbles us enough to pray the prayer that God is just waiting to hear. Only then can He forgive, restore, and set us on the path to purity and true freedom.
Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. They both went to the Temple to pray.
The Pharisee stood up and prayed boldly.
The tax collector bowed his head and would not even look up to heaven.
The Pharisee spent his prayer time telling God how good he was.
The tax collector told God how sinful he was.
The Pharisee was looking for God’s approval.
The tax collector was looking for God’s mercy.
Only one of them had his prayer answered.
When it comes to our relationship with God, it is never about our being better or about trying harder. It is always about His mercy. He is just waiting for us to see our need and ask for it. “Have mercy on me a sinner” is a prayer He always answers.
“Our conscious need for daily mercy is our only real boarding pass for heaven. The ego does not like that very much, but the soul fully understands.” – Richard Rohr