Part of knowing our God and the things that he expects from us is written. The Bible has many a place pre-Jesus that has brought man and God to a crossroads. Man being the ultimate sinner, but some who are truly righteous and walk with the spirit of God within. Ezra, the prophet speaks to God on behalf of the very people who are trying very hard to do the right thing. However, none are without wrong. Here is his prayer before he ascends to the heavens. * These verses are taken from the New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha
2 Esdras 8:24-36
O Lord, you created me, and I am your servant, so listen to my prayer. As long as I have life and understanding, I cannot keep silent. "Do not take account of the sins of your people; rather, consider those who have served you faithfully. Pay no attention to godless people and what they do, but take into account those who have kept your covenant in spite of all their sufferings. Do not think about those who have lived wicked lives, but remember those who have gladly confessed you as God. Do not destroy your people because of those who have lived like animals, but be mindful of those who have taught your Law in such a wonderful way. Do not be angry with those you consider worse than animals, but show your love to those who have always trusted in your glorious presence. "It is true that we and our ancestors have lived our lives in ways that bring death, but it is because of us who are sinners that you are called merciful. You will surely be called merciful if you choose to take pity on us - we are sinners without any righteous deeds to our credit. Those who are righteous will receive their reward on the basis of the many good works that they have stored up with you. "What are human beings that you should be angry with them? What is this mortal race that you should be so bitter against it? To speak the truth, no person was ever born who did not sin; there is no one living who is not guilty. Therefore, Lord, your righteousness and goodness will certainly be made known when you show your mercy to those who have no treasure of good deeds.