Friday, March 29, 2013

Why is Friday good?

In Proverbs, which was written long before Jesus lived and died, it is written:

    "The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, and they seek the life of the upright." (Prov. 29:10)

Perhaps the biggest lie we are apt to tell ourselves is that we love people who are good. We yearn to be treated well by others, but we want to dwell in our self-determined and self-referencing subjective righteousness. We don't want anyone questioning our views on ourselves, others or the "reality" that is framed solely from the inside of our minds and eye lids. We are naturally self-righteous. Jonathan Haidt, when speaking about his recent book, The Righteous Mind, said that he'd thought of the title, "The Self-Righteous Mind"! However, having studied human behavior, he knew that the former title would  predispose our elephants to lean away from the truth that our minds will justify any behavior, words or actions to ourselves. 

In fact, the more intelligent and educated we are, the better we become at self-justification and self-righteousness.

Those of us who follow Jesus Christ seek, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust in God's justification of us in the faithfulness of Christ. We are not faithful. We fail. We injure others. We damage ourselves. We cannot love ourselves or others, perfectly. But, the difference should be that we do not self-justify. We confess our wrongs against and judgment of others. By definition, a Christian should never be SELF-righteous.

As spiritual humans, we step into the light and allow God's love, justice and righteousness to judge our thoughts, words and behavior. When others tell us we have wronged them, we allow God's love and laws to frame whether those reported "wrongs" are true. After all, in addition to being attacked for doing what is "wrong", the verse from Proverbs confirms that we will also be attacked for doing and speaking what is right! So, we must ask God, have we failed to follow You in this situation or relationship? If yes, we must turn (i.e., repent). When others betray us, we know that we betray Christ if/whenever we respond to betrayal with betrayal.

As natural humans, we will veer strongly away from allowing God or anyone else to examine our thoughts, words, behavior and acts. The natural human is self-righteous, and wants no input which challenges or contradicts his/her self-righteous brain.

As natural humans, we will betray, divorce and cut off, abandon, mock, slander, torture and kill anyone who dares to speak truth into our self-righteousness.

This Friday is "good", because God-in-Christ loved us - loved us who are God's hate-filled enemies - and God, 
  • was faithful in the face of our betrayal, 
  • steadfastly "with us" in the face of our divorcing and alienating acts, 
  • remained true when we ran away and abandoned the One bringing life, light, healing, grace & truth into our lives,
  • spoke with love when treated with mockery and gossip,
  • did not strike back when deliberately tortured,
  • bore the terrible pain we inflicted by our vindictive, self-righteous, self-defending hatred without transferring it onto others,
  • and, in fully bearing our enmity, hatred and false accusations unto death, forgives us.
Christ-following and Christ-loving people depend upon God's love, power and righteousness, revealed in Christ, to heal us and to redeem us. "...but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength."

This Friday is good news for those of us who seek first God's kingdom and God's righteousness!

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