(Easy to Read Version)
9 There were some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else. Jesus used this story to teach them: 10 “One time there was a Pharisee and a tax collector. One day they both went to the Temple to pray. 11 The Pharisee stood alone, away from the tax collector. When the Pharisee prayed, he said, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not as bad as other people. I am not like men who steal, cheat, or commit adultery. I thank you that I am better than this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of everything I get!’
13 “The tax collector stood alone too. But when he prayed, he would not even look up to heaven. He felt very humble before God. He said, ‘O God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, when this man finished his prayer and went home, he was right with God. But the Pharisee, who felt that he was better than others, was not right with God. People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important.”
I think this passage is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't bore the reader with a long dissertation about it. Now we all know that the Pharisee was not without sin - okay, maybe he didn't do the things he mentioned, but at the very least, he was guilty of a proud and haughty spirit. There were most likely other things he was guilty of, but maybe only his wife and children knew about those things. Maybe it was something he was even hiding from them...and only God knew. Either which way, regardless of his own opinion about himself, he was a sinner just like the tax collector.
The problem, as I see it, is when you look around and observe people and start to make judgments or assumptions about them and where they are at with their relationship with God, you step into God's shoes. Besides the fact that that is a really brave thing to attempt - have you seen the work of God in someones life? Have you seen where He has already brought them from? Do you know how much junk they had to crawl through just to touch the hem of His garment? Have you read the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector?
Here's some advice, if you find yourself looking around and thinking or saying anything that smacks of judgment like you must know everything about someone - seriously, get over yourself.