The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
The parable of The Pharisee and the Publican is a parable of Jesus recounted in the Gospel of Luke. In it, the Publican's shame at his own sin is held higher than the Pharisee's gratitude for his own virtue. This teaches us the value of humility over pride.
From the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18 (King James Version):
9. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13. 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.
14. 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.
The Roman publicanus was a public contractor and tax-gatherer rather than a publican in the modern sense, and other Bible translations, for example the New International Version, call him a tax collector rather than a publican.