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Who is righteous?
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 ...Are you?

You know, it's interesting, that as Christians we can be so judgmental.
Of non-believers and each other.

We "wag the finger", whenever a brother or sister does something wrong, or we disagree with.

We "loathe" and despise the behavior of the non-believer. We are quick to pass judgment.

But we hardly ever look in our own "backyard". At our own problems, our own issues, and our own sin!

It's interesting isn't it? How quickly we can point out the faults of others. But when it comes to looking in the mirror and being honest with ourselves ...we fall so short.

We come up with excuses. We "rationalize" our sin. We have an answer for everything wrong that we do! Amazing isn't it? But yet we can never accept the excuses of others!

 ...Strange isn't it? Or is it!

We forget where we come from. We "turn up" our noses at those around us. We beat them down verbally. And walk away thinking to ourselves, "how righteous am I".

 ....And even more sad, is that we can do this and think we are completely justified.

And while we're "patting" ourselves on the back, right after our "drive by shooting", we just did with our mouths. We do not realize the damage and the hurt we are causing to others. The "looks of scorn" and disapproval we give. The comments "muttered" under a breath. The look of pain in someone's face as we "chisel" them down in size. All in the name of making ourselves look good.

 ...At the expense of hurting them.

It reminds me of the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector:

"Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 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!'

                               (Luke 18:9-13 NKJV)

Now, ask yourself this. If you were one of these two. Which one would you be? Would you be the Pharisee. The one who thinks they are "righteous" and "better", than everyone else (....and especially compared to the "tax collector"). Or would you be the tax collector? Looking in your own "backyard". You know you are a fallen person, in need of great mercy, grace and forgiveness.

Now, be honest with yourself! ...And with God. After all, you know you can't lie to Him!

You know it's good for all of us to be reminded that we are ALL "inept". Undeserving of God's grace, mercy and forgiveness. That it is nothing that we do that can save us:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-"

                               (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)

And that Jesus offered Himself, when we were not living for, nor trying
to live for Him!

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us
."

                               (Romans 5:8 NKJV)

You see, we should all be so thankful that our Lord is not like us! He does not "back-bite", lie, cheat and hurt others. Those close to Him, those that are not. And those that hate Him.

  ...But we do!

He knew people were (are) fallible. He knew they could not live right on their own. He knew that for those that wanted to live right. That it was a constant struggle to try and do what's right. And they could not. So He came to meet us where we are at.  ...Something we are usually willing to do for each other!

He was so loving and forgiving. He extended, and still extends such great mercy to all of us.

"The LORD is merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy."

                    (Psalm 103:8 NKJV)

"As far as the east is from the west,
     So far has He removed our transgressions from us."

                     (Psalm 103:12 NKJV)

But yet we cannot seem to extend that same kind of grace to each other. Someone does something wrong, and we are quick to "pounce" on the opportunity to cut them down to size. Or we see a non-believer and think, "how much better and righteous am I".  ...When in fact the only thing that separates any of us from a non-believer. Is accepting the work of Jesus on the cross!

You see we should all remember. Each and every day, every minute ...and every second of our lives. That it is God's love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, through Jesus, that saves us! It's not how "good" we are. Nor, how good we "could be". But its how good and loving He IS!

So the next time you are thinking about how "great", "righteous" and
"perfect" you are. Think about what Jesus said as He hung on the cross:

 "Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."

   Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, "He saved others. Let's see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!"

                         (Luke 23:34-35 The Message)

You see, you and I, are as much at fault for Jesus' death. As those who pounded the nails into His hands and feet. And those that sent Him to die, an innocent man, and the Son of God. And those that stood on and sneered and laughed at Him.

You see we MUST always remember, Jesus is the one who makes us
righteous, we have nothing to do with it! If we had never sinned? Jesus would have never had to die for us.

"Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith."

                              (Romans 3:27 NKJV)

If you think otherwise? As Dr Phil says, "how is that working out for you?"

You see we can either realize we are only saved by Jesus' righteousness. Ours are only "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). And be content and at peace knowing it's all Him. And receiving it, receiving Him. Or we can choose to be arrogant, just like the pharisee. Looking at and judging everyone else. Never truly content within ourselves. Not admitting to ourselves that we are really lost and "discontent". And that we really need saving too, that we are "powerless" to save ourselves.

So the next time you see a brother, or sister fallen. Or an unbeliever. The prostitute on the street. The homeless man. A person who you consider "lower", or "beneath" yourself. Remember who picks you up!

And here's a parting thought:

 "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

                       (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV)

 

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
POHOM
 
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
 
 
 
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