But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Matthew 9:13 (NIV)
Lately, I have been struggling with self-righteousness. I have been stuck in the muck of self-righteous condemnation. It is nasty to become aware of this fact about myself, but I know it is necessary in order to change it. The thing about the self-righteousness I’m feeling right now is that it is directed, basically, to one specific (and very large) group of people: anyone on television, Facebook, or in the news who says anything that has a political slant to it. As I listen, I sit back in my self-righteousness of non-engagement.
There, I said it. I don’t want to engage in today’s political arguments. I am exhausted by both sides of it. I feel muffled by the fact that today’s society only yells opinions while pointing, rather than sharing ideas to invite discussion. My energy is zapped whenever I see the national news on the television in a doctor’s office waiting room or hear it in my own living room while I’m preparing dinner for me and my husband. All I see in relation to politics anymore (both sides) is hatred. All I hear in relation to politics anymore (both sides) is accusation. And I don’t want any part of it.
Hence, the self-righteousness that lives in my head and my heart! I can’t help but judge all the angry voices I hear on television. And, since ALL of the news stations only seem to broadcast the hate and the anger, that’s all I hear. I find myself sitting back with my arms folded and wondering: “Where’s the love?” “Where is God in all of this?” “Why is everyone so dang angry?!” When I start asking questions like that, I usually talk to my spiritual friends, who often direct me to God’s word for answers. Today, when I opened my Bible, the little green page-marker pointed an arrow directly at Matthew 9:13. Coincidence? I think not.
What a powerful message for me to be guided to today. My “righteous” attitude is coming between me and Jesus. He did not come to earth to “call the righteous, but sinners.” I realized as I read those words that when I sit back in judgment of God’s children, I separate myself from His Love, His Grace, and His Mercy.
I know that on my own, I will not be able to overcome this attitude within. I know I need to take it to God and ask for its removal. I pray that I will have the willingness to do just that. I pray that I will be able to let go of the “rush” I get in judging those who put their opinions out there, even if I don’t think their approach is appropriate behavior. I pray that we will all stop standing up against something and start standing up for something. I pray that God will guide our country to a place of peace within before our inner turmoil destroys us. I pray today for all of us sinners – ALL OF US SINNERS!