A sinner's sorry.
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.’
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
After Jesus described the self-righteous Pharisee, he then described the second person in His story: the tax collector. This tax collector was so overwhelmed with all he was sorry about that he beat each word of his prayer out: "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner." This man admits to being the very thing the Pharisee just thanked God that he wasn’t – a sinner.
One of the clearest ways the Bible describes sin is by using an archery term when an archer missed the mark. Sin is missing the mark. With God, there is only one mark: His law, His way. It’s perfection, so when we miss the mark one time, we’ve missed it entirely. The tax collector understood this. And because of that he says, “I’m sorry for missing the mark. Forgive me.”
We are all sinners--all of us. Today, reflect on how you’ve missed the mark and pray along with the tax collector, "O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner."