Tag Archives: judgment

A Thought on to be Righteous and Moral

As you know, I don’t often write about myself, and if you’ve read me for awhile, you have at least an idea of why I don’t.  You know there’s never just one reason for why human beings do anything much as we’d like for that to be the case.  Now that I’m looking back on that last sentence, I can tell you I don’t like it, and maybe you don’t either. Still, I’m going to let it stand, but with this caveat, instead of saying “never” I’m going to say  “most of the time.”  Perhaps you have a better handle on your motivations for why you do things than I do, and if so then I congratulate you.  You’re further along on the road to “maturity” than I am.  For myself, I can tell you that I often see “self” lying somewhere in the mire of the complicated emotions and thoughts that trigger my actions and reactions toward my life, the world, and the people I encounter in it.

I don’t like seeing it, the “self-interest, the self-absorption, the self-love, the self-hate . . .” but more than these, the one I hate the most among all my many selves, is the one that keeps trying to draw a line; deep, dark, and wide between me and others; it’s the “self-righteous” one that I so often fight major battles with, and too often in my encounters with it I’m the one looking down on the one I’ve crushed underneath the weight of it.

The word “righteous” according to the American Heritage Dictionary means, “Morally upright; without guilt or sin.”  I wonder does this definition make you pause as it does me?  I guess whether it does or not depends on your definition on what moral is.  If you look in the same dictionary, you’ll see that “moral’ means: “Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character.”  Read a little further, and it says, “Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous.”  There’s two words in the previous definitions that make me think of another word, “loophole,” and it seems to me that’s what so many people in this world are doing.  Looking for loopholes.

“Loopholes” are created through the doorways of ‘judgment’ and ‘standards.’  Ever heard the phrase, “shifting morals?”  If you haven’t then you’re not old enough to have seen them shift, but ask someone who’s over 50, and I’ll make a small wager that they have.  I’d tell you to read back through history, but it’s being rewritten so fast I’m not so sure you’d actually see it unless you were really looking for it.

While you’re thinking about “shifting morals” I’ll lay another one on you.  How about “Shifting sand?”  Those of you who live by the ocean, a body of water, or are fairly familiar with their Bible no doubt have seen and know the term. Now there’s an obvious connection between the two terms, and one that perhaps isn’t quite so obvious, but no doubt you’ve made that one, too, and it’s in that they both have to do with foundations, and we all know what a foundation is, and what it’s for, and most of us have seen what happens when a foundation isn’t stable.

Without a solid foundation, few things will stand for long whether it be beliefs, buildings, or people. Eventually, everything is put to the test by something whether it be by tsunamis, tornadoes, or the trials, tribulations and temptations brought on by other people. We know people use all kinds of things as the foundation of their lives, but how many of those things can stand up to a fire? I have to tell you I don’t have anything materially that would survive if that were to happen to me, but spiritually I do.

It seems to me that more and more people in this world are choosing to build their own spiritual foundations based upon their own views of what it is to be righteous and moral and yet the judgments and standards used to assess those things are constantly changing. Perhaps that’s why we should look to the one who does not change, and to His word as presented in the “Holy Bible.”

Psalm 97 (King James Version)

 The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.
 His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
 Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
 For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

From “Morning and Evening” by C. H. Spurgeon

“Just, and the justifier of him which believeth.” – Rom_3:26

Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin, but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for Christ has paid the debt of his people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt; and unless God can be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute can ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just; we feel that it must be so, and this gives us our terror at first; but is it not marvellous that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace! If God be just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished; but Jesus stands in my stead and is punished for me; and now, if God be just, I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished. God must change his nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the lash of the law. Therefore, Jesus having taken the place of the believer-having rendered a full equivalent to divine wrath for all that his people ought to have suffered as the result of sin, the believer can shout with glorious triumph, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Not God, for he hath justified; not Christ, for he hath died, “yea rather hath risen again.” My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, he is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what he has done, and in what he is now doing for me. On the lion of justice the fair maid of hope rides like a queen.

 

Just In Our Eyes by Wayne Augden

I’ve been thinking and praying all day about what I should write tonight, and up until about two minutes ago, I had no idea.  I’ve been reading through the Bible, and today, I was reading in Matthew 7: 1-5.  There’s so much good stuff in these five verses that one could study them and meditate on them for years, and still not fully grasp all that they give us in the way of wisdom, and how applicable they are in discerning what real love is, and how we should love others, and ourselves.

Sometimes, it’s the easiest thing in the world to define ourselves and the world we live in by looking at other people and their actions.  What’s harder is understanding that other people are defining themselves by us and our actions.  It’s a hard concept to grasp.  Judging others comes so easy, and it feels so good, and it’s like a topical antiseptic…just apply it and in a few moments you feel better.  At least, for the short-term, it’s true, but why doesn’t it last?  And, why is it that making judgments about others becomes like eating “Lays” potato chips; nobody can be satisfied with just one.  Could it be that it becomes a habit, an addiction, an easy fix to an inner wound that we’re not willing to deal with, and that we don’t want to heal because then we’d lose the right to feel pain over it.  More to the point, we’d lose our sense of justification to use it as a way to continue living the way we are.  Isn’t that what judgment is?  A way to justify behavior?

What we fail to understand is there’s a price for justifying the way we live, but sadly, too often, it’s not us who have to pay the price, at least not in the short-term.  Too often the ones who are paying the price are the ones we’re judging, and too often our judgments become like those of the arsonist lighting a fire.  At their worst, they can and do destroy the lives of people, and if they don’t destroy a person they can cause so much damage that it may set people back years, and prevent them from ever living up to their potential.

The sadness of this is that more often than not, the ones making the judgments are the first ones to cry foul when they’re on the receiving end.  So many of us are so quick to want to help someone else, when we can’t even help ourselves, and are guilty of the same things.  It’s like telling someone to stop drinking when you’re holding a drink.  I can’t possibly begin to express all the ugly ways and means by which hypocrisy rears its ugly head, but it’s beginning lies….just in our eyes.

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian – Lifting Those Who Fall

So how do you approach people who need help?

LIFTING THOSE WHO FALL

It’s okay to confront somebody you believe is in the wrong, but not with a self-righteous attitude.  When church leaders insisted a woman “caught in the act of adultery” be stoned (See John 8:4 NLT), Jesus replied, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (v. 7 NLT).  Ouch!  One Christian author writes: “Are we aware of other people’s mistakes because they confided in us, or have we appointed ourselves the ‘moral police’ to justify examining the blemishes in everyone else’s behavior?  Is your goal to restore prodigals,,,,or do you have a hidden agenda to evaluate yourself by condemning those around you?  I’ve been confronted twice by other Christians.  One…a red-faced stranger who was furious with me for wearing knee-high leather boots with a short skirt to her church.  She called me a ‘Jezebel.’  The second was…a good friend who tenderly pointed out my pride in a specific situation.  The name-calling left a bruise on my soul….the compassionate rebuke turned me toward the forgiving arms of our heavenly Father.  God alone has the perfect combination of holiness and mercy to stand in judgment of the human heart.  The Bible says, ‘if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.’  The only one who was worthy to condemn us, chose instead to pardon us…and in light of our own sinner-saved-by-grace (status)-when the Holy Spirit impresses you to confront someone who has messed up, do it with honesty, compassion, and humility.”