Monday, January 23, 2017

The Pharisee Within January Edition

I've seen so much in the news and on social media this week that makes me sad:  People verbally or physically attacking little children, women, men, liberals, conservatives, fat people, skinny people, religious beliefs, atheist, sports teams, athletes, coaches, sports fans. And most of this was done in the name of tolerance or the perceived lack thereof.

It seems that instead of being more tolerant and understanding, we are becoming a nation and a world of self-righteous, self-important intolerant noise-makers. I'm not saying we shouldn't stand up for what we believe is right. That is our right and our obligation as Americans and fellow human beings. But it's not healthy or in keeping with Jesus' example to tear down some so that others can be lifted up. We can stop this epidemic of self-righteous indignation eating away at our society and our world, but we have to do the one thing we don't want to do. We have to take a good look inside ourselves and reform our own intolerance and outrage--reject our own "righteousness." Only then can we live and act in the true righteousness of God in service, love, grace, and hope.

The Pharisee Within
Why God?
Why are we so quick to condemn
the sinners around us,
all the while
overlooking the sin within?
How can we scour Your Word
to hurl condemnation,
stoning others with our interpretations,
loudly rejecting the very ones
You came to save,
in our self-righteous arrogance,
even as we shout Your Holy Name?
Why do we think this is what You,
who came to serve,
would want us, Your people, to do?
You came not to condemn us
But to save us –
to live and die and live for us.
You came as Healer
And Forgiver
Restorer of life through grace
And then asked us to do the same
through Your Spirit
and in Your Glorious Name!
Forgive us Lord, but especially me
for my self-serving part
in this sanctimonious game.
You didn’t meet me with fire and brimstone
but in kindness and love You reached out Your hand.
Not with condemnation
but with hope and forgiveness
You loved me as the sinner I am.
You brought light to my darkness,
not to judge but to save.
With joy You welcomed me in Your embrace.
You healed all my wounds
and removed my disgrace.
It didn’t happen all at once.
But over time I began to grow and change.
It’s a journey we walk together,
hand in hand,
with You guiding the Way.
Still I find myself in need of Your grace
from beginning to end
day after day.

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