Forgiveness and Self-Righteousness
1And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7″Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and saying ‘wow. glad that ain’t me’.
A few recent events and revelations have forced me to look deeper in my heart and examine my obedience and the motivations behind it. It’s amazing how easy it is to look at your own supposed ‘righteousness’ and end up sounding like the Pharisee in Luke 14 – “Lord, I thank you that I am not like XXX, pregnant and unmarried’, yet you engage in masturbation on a regular basis. Or your thought life is so X-rated that it would make Hugh Heffner blush with embarassment.
It’s easy to claim ‘Lord, I’m glad you’ve kept me from falling into XXX like YYY’, yet, you’re busy failing to do ZZZ that God commanded you to do.
Are there not times when believers are to look inwardly and examine their own hearts to see if their motives are pure ?Â 2 Cor. 13 and Luke 17:3 say that this time (“Examine Yourselves”, “Pay attention to yourselves”) is daily.Â And daily at the foot of the cross, the reality should continue to set in – even after we do all that we’re required to do, we are still unworthy servants.
Nothing in us commends us to God. Nothing in us makes God say ‘Wow, what a good boy/girl you are!’ As much as you may work yourself into a frenzy on Sunday morning, you’ve barely begun to do what’s required of you (worship God and Him only will you serve).Â It is only the sheer mercy of God that allows you the privilege to serve Him (Eph. 2:1-8).
Meditate on these things.Â Forgive your brethren. And if there’s a root of anger or bitterness against a person, light as it may be, that causes you to compare yourself to them and think better of yourself, remember that at the end of the day…. you’re just an unworthy servant. Ask God to change your heart so that you may live at peace with your brethren and show more grace and compassion….even to those who you think don’t deserve it.
After all…. did you deserve it ?