Tag Archives: Righteous

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.”

Matthew 25:31-46 (ESV)

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

” And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3

When heart and flesh are fast failing, and the trembling feet descend into the dark valley of the shadow of death, to whom shall we then look but unto Jesus? The world is now receding, and all creatures are fading upon the sight; one object alone remains, arrests and fixes the believer’s eye-it is Jesus, the Savior; it is Emmanuel, the Incarnate and now-present God; it is the Captain of our salvation, the Conqueror of death, and the Spoiler of the grave; it is our friend, our brother, our Joseph, our Joshua, loving and faithful, and present to the last. Jesus is there to confront death again, and vanquish him with his own weapons. Jesus is there to remind His departing one that the grave can wear no gloom, and can boast of no victory, since He himself passed through its portal, rose and revived, and lives for evermore.

Sick one! in your languishing, look to Jesus! Departing one! in your death-struggles, look to Jesus! Are you guilty?-Jesus is righteous. Are you a sinner?-Jesus is a Savior. Are you fearful, and do you tremble?-the Shepherd of the flock is with you, and no one shall pluck His sheep out of His hands. How fully, how suitably, does the gospel now meet your case! In your bodily weakness and mental confusion, two truths are, perhaps, all that you can now dwell upon-your sinfulness and Christ’s redemption, your emptiness and Christ’s sufficiency. Enough! you need no more; God requires no more. In your felt weakness, in your conscious unworthiness, amid the swelling of the cold waters, raise your eye and fix it upon Jesus, and all will be well. Hear the words of your Savior calling you from the bright world of glory to which He bids you come, “Arise, my love, my fair one! and come away.” Believer! look to Him-lean upon Him-cleave to Him-labor for Him-suffer for Him-and, if need be, die for Him. Thus loving and trusting, living and dying, for “Jesus only.”