“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’” (Lk 18:13).
What a prayer to offer! It opens Heaven to every undeserving sinner. It could be rightly translated, “God, be to me, the sinner, as You are at the Mercy Seat.”
Max Lucado tells about a Sunday School teacher, Joy, who had a nine-year-old named Barbara in her class. Her oppressive home life had shut her mouth, and Joy never heard her speak or sing with the others—until the day she spoke about Heaven. “Joy talked about seeing God. She talked about tearless eyes and deathless lives. Barbara was fascinated. She wouldn’t release Joy from her stare. She listened with hunger. Then she raised her hand. ‘Mrs. Joy?’ Joy was stunned. Barbara had never asked a question. ‘Yes, Barbara?’ ‘Is Heaven for girls like me?’” How happy Barbara would be to discover that the tax collector was justified—declared right—that day.