A thoughtful article got me thinking about today’s word-of-the-week…
I never thought about it like that until Don Miller pointed out that self-righteousness is really just a way of building myself up by tearing others down. It’s not about being truly righteous, only appearing to be in a bit better class of sinner than the next guy.
That’s why self-righteous folks are so concerned with rules. Man-made rules are nearly always designed to distinguish who’s doing it better, even if the distinctions are artificial.
I started thinking about Jesus’ principles and realized they’re never like that. You can’t rank people based on how much they love. You just love, as much as possible, and there’s always more where that came from. Same for grace, hope, truth, mercy, compassion, forgiveness—you start trying to measure and compare that stuff and you start looking pretty silly.
You can’t force people to do the things that matter to Jesus—love, forgive, and all the rest—and you can’t make rules about them. Jesus reserved his harshest condemnation for the Pharisees who substituted their own burdensome rules for the freedom of following His principles.
I learning that God doesn’t care much if I love right, or forgive right, or do compassion right. He doesn’t grade on a curve—in fact, He doesn’t grade at all.
I think He celebrates when we try our best to do those things and forget about keeping score.
It’s Monday. We’re spending the next few days visiting and speaking at some Teen Challenge centers in the Phoenix/Casa Grande/Tucson areas. On Saturday, November 22nd, I’ll join a few thousand other cyclists (and a couple of teammates from Front Range Freedom Tour 2014) in El Tour de Tucson. I hope you’ll follow along on the Rich’s Ride blog.
I hope you have a great week!
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