There is a story about two men who were praying in the same place. One, burdened by the weight of his own sinfulness, would not even look up as he prayed. Instead, he fell to his knees and cried out in an anguished spirit, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!”
The other man was very religious, and he prayed like this: “Lord, I thank you that I am not sinful like other men, that guy over there for instance. I give money to the church, I fast every week, I follow all the rules. Amen.”
The first man, we are told, walked away justified before God, but not the second.
I understand this story. If I have a good attribute it is this. I know I am nothing but a scoundrel desperate for grace and mercy. I know that I am a cheap clay jar in which has been hidden a marvelous treasure.