Thank you for this, Pastor Boudreaux. Such a subtle sin this can be – probably because sometimes it has the appearance of ‘righteousness’. I have fallen into this trap – it is called ‘pride’. I have to keep asking God to remove it. Righteousness always wears the cloak of humility.
Here’s how the gospel of Matthew tells of Jesus’ attitude to ‘sinners’ – not only does He not condemn them, first He calls one of them to be His disciple, and then He says that they are the people whom He chooses:
Jesus left there and as he passed on he saw a man called Matthew sitting at his desk in the tax-collector’s office. “Follow me!” he said to him—and the man got to his feet and followed him.
Later, as Jesus was in the house sitting at the dinner-table, a good many tax-collectors and other disreputable people came on the scene and joined him and his disciples. The Pharisees noticed this and said to the disciples, “Why does your master have his meals with tax-collectors and sinners?” But Jesus heard this and replied, “It is not the fit and flourishing who need the doctor, but those who are ill! Suppose you go away and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’. In any case I did not come to invite the ‘righteous’ but the ‘sinners’.”
Matthew 9:9-13 (Phillips)
‘Mercy and not sacrifice’? Not the ‘righteous’ but the ‘sinners‘? It’s the glorious Upside Down Kingdom again! Lord, bring me to my knees in humility before You. May I only ever seek to serve – and never to ‘glorify’ myself.
Why are we so ready to judge our neighbor? Why are we so concerned about the burden of others? We have plenty to be concerned about, each one has his own debt and his own sins. It is for God alone to judge, to justify or to condemn. He knows the state of each one of us and our capacities, our deviations, and our gifts, our constitution and our preparedness, and it is for him to judge each of these things according to the knowledge that he alone has. For God judges the affairs of a bishop in one way and those of a prince in another. His judgment is for an abbot or for a disciple, he judges differently the senior and the neophyte, the sick man and the healthy man. Who could understand all these judgments except the one who has done everything, formed everything, and knows everything?
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