“And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’” Luke 18:9-14 (KJB)
Two men are mentioned who went to pray. That is not to say that it could be members of the feminine sex as well, because there are those two kinds of women as well.
One full of themselves; and the other repentant and humble, realizing they are in need of God’s bountiful grace and mercy.
The Pharisee knew the law, and exalted himself in his own purity, and talk about judging others unjustly; this Pharisee certainly did. He saw himself as better than the publican. The Pharisee being a “great” religious leader.
The publican (not Republican), was a despised, and hated tax collector. He gathered taxes from his own people (the Hebrews), and many counted them as traitors to Israel. Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him to follow, and he left his table and followed Jesus (Matthew 9:9; 10:3).
It is the heart that our Lord sees. Repentance, humility, before the throne of God is what He desires.
God does not hear neither grant request from an arrogant and prideful heart. It was the hated, despised tax collector who went home justified by God.
The apostle Paul writing on the matter of Justification said,,,
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2
It is by God’s own declaration of justification that we are made just; not our own. Who then are made just? Those who come before the cross of Jesus Christ, lost, lonely, sinful, broken, and ashamed, and plead for His mercy, love, and grace.