For example in Luke 5, the Bible records that when Jesus sat to eat with a “great number of tax collectors and others”, the religious folk who were observing complained, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Or how about the time when a woman, probably a prostitute, came and drenched Jesus’ feet with her tears, and wiped them clean with her hair; even kissing his feet and anointing them with fragrant oil. (Luke 7:37-38) Simon, Jesus’ host, said to himself, “If He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
What convicts me personally is when I realize how easy it is for me to see how wrong the religious folk and self-righteous Simon were, while knowing that it is always easy to judge someone else’s sin and not my own.
Do gross sinners and prostitutes need God’s grace more than religious and self-righteous people? I think not. Let me suggest that the only difference between the two camps is that more often than not the “tax collectors” and prostitutes of this world know that they are sinners in need of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness whereas the religious and self-righteous don’t see their need.
Luke 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 “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!’ 14 “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”