The tax collector is beyond caring about how he feels. Whether he has been treated unfairly, whether he has honed just the right tone to signal his repentance, whether he was a victim of discrimination by the masses is inconsequential to his ability to enter heaven. He knows his own perceptions are untrustworthy (Jeremiah 17:9); the masses follow culture’s rules and culture’s rules are capricious and arbitrary. Neither change the reality. “God, be merciful to me—a sinner” is what he said.