Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Overheard in the Breakroom ...

"Heaven's nasty, full of all those self righteous bastards, but hell's worse because it's full of all the truly hateful people."

Not much of a choice, eh?

Not much of a ringing endorsement of heaven, either, is it? But, judging from all of the people who say they're going there, he's not far off. I have to admit it, I can be just as self-righteous as the worst of them. And that's after knowing that our own righteousness (even the "best" of us) is as filthy rags, and that the only way any of us get into heaven is by grace. "By Grace you are saved, not of works - it is a gift from God - lest any man should boast."

Many of us boast in our abilities nontheless. But our ability to get into heaven on our own is nil. If we could do it on our own strength, there would be no need for Jesus' sacrifice.

Self-righteousness is matter of pride. We're saying: "You're not doing that as well you should!" Implying that we do "it" better, whatever "it" is. Self-righteousness in the realm of sin is sin in its own right. Jesus spoke of this when he was talking about seeing the mote in the other person's eye, while not noticing the two-by-four in your own eye. Er, um, excuse me; I mean in MY own eye. As I said earlier, I can keep up with the worst of us, especially in the area of driving. But I nit-pick in other areas, too.

It comes from being a know-it-all.

But, if our goal is to bring people together in the family of God, then our pride and self-righteousness (as expressed by exacting adherance to rules, most of which do not come from scripture) only serves to drive people away.

Jesus said it during the Last Supper: "You whom I love, love one another, even as I have loved you, love one another." This is followed by a most important line: "By this shall all people know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another."

Love, by the way, is a highly misunderstood word nowadays. Most people think that is a feeling, some thing you "fall into" or "fall out of". Truly, though, love is a verb: you show your love by your actions. Whenever I put food on the table for our little one, make sure my wife has gas in the car after I borrow it, or keep a promise to a friend, I show love.

So when the Bible says "Love your neighbor as yourself," it's not saying to find some sack time with them, but to be as kind to them as you would be to yourself.

Hey, just a thought: If we are kind to our neighbor instead of preaching at them, maybe, just maybe, they'll stop worrying about us being self-righteous and start wondering why we're being kind. Especially if they know that they wouldn't bother if the roles were reversed. They might even ask us "Why?"

When they do, what will you tell them?

A great quote I've heard lately, and it fits right in:

"Everyone is fighting some sort of battle; be kinder than necessary."

Yes, you can!

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