There are times in all of our lives when we feel we need to be a certain way. Some of us are naturally kind hearted and honestly want to see humanity prosper; and others of us…not so much.
An interesting conversation was had when I last met with my Catholic brothers. They were talking about what really motivates our behavior to separate ourselves to be the beckons of light in a world of darkness. I realized that my Baptist upbringing wasn’t that far off from their mentality when it comes to this. Some of us really want to impact the world, while most people genuinely do good things so they can be recognized and gain status and more power. The dangerous thing about this type of shrouded generosity is that it is quickly followed by a huge lump of self-righteousness. I am no better than anyone else as I am also guilty of doing this at times. We referenced a bible verse where Christ was dealing with this issue and the proper way to move past ourselves to do good simply because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Matthew 21: 28-32 - What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29And he answered, `I will not'; but afterward he repented and went. 30And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,' but did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.
This is a very simple example of how people will outwardly profess that they are a certain way, but are entirely different on the inside. The second son openly said that he would obey his father, but knew in his heart that he would not; while the first son said to his father that he will not do as he commanded in public, but actually went back and obeyed his father’s orders later. All of us are guilty of playing this type of proverbial game of “CHICKEN” with our inward spirituality and outward actions. But the scripture reveals the root problem that we who say that we are believers can fall prey to.
Self-Righteousness lands on our shoulders when we feel that we are beyond reproach because WE THINK WE KNOW IT ALL and WE ARE CLOSER TO GOD THAN ANYONE ELSE. Christ specifically told the “Holy People” of the time that the tax collectors and the harlots will go into the kingdom of Heaven before the so called Sanctified Folks because they knew of their sin, knew that they were wrong in their sin and simply believed John the Baptist about repenting and being cleansed through baptism.
Lots of us who have been serving God for a while tend to get on high horses and look down on everybody else that doesn’t pray as much as we do, sacrifice as much as we do, go to church as much as we do, help our communities as much as we do, abstain from fornication or adultery as much as we do, or we just generally think that we are better than others because of our superiority complex based in self-righteousness.
That was a mouthful but it is on point as to how we can sometimes lose ourselves in ourselves because we think that we got this God thing all figured out. A little humility will go a long way as we learn to see that we are NOT closer to the All Mighty with our actions than anyone else. But the real beauty of the scripture is that Jesus said that even the lowest members of society
are guaranteed a place in Heaven by simply acknowledging who they REALLY are and simply believing in Him. AND THAT SHOULD BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR US ALL!