Compared to God’s righteousness we’re all crooked.
They should name me king of the world. Why? Well, don’t broadcast it widely but (shhh, keep this to yourself)–I know everything. If you don’t believe it, just ask me.
Want to know who is right or who is wrong? Ask me. Want to know how it should be done? Ask me. Want to know the answer to some deep moral dilemma? You’ve come to the right place sweetie.
It sure feels good to know everything. I’ve just got one problem; you think you know everything, too, and we don’t always agree. At least I know enough to know that sometimes you’re wrong. Me? Well, that’s another case. Did I tell you that I know everything?
The problem with my knowledge is that it’s strongly colored by my personality, experience and desires. Right is the way I see it.
It reminds me of a major-league baseball game that I attended the other day at the Texas Ranger’s stadium. The good guys (the Rangers) were making a come-back. With a runner on third the batter tried to lay down a suicide-squeeze bunt but he popped it up in front of the plate. From my place way up in the stands it looked like the A’s pitcher dove, made a great catch and doubled the runner coming in from third (sorry ladies, no room for explanations).
But, the umpire ruled he trapped it–run scores, batter safe at first.
Well, the A’s manager went ballistic. He charged up to the umpire and got right into his face. The umpire faced him aggressively as the Angel’s manager told him how it really was. What great theater! The crowd got into it, booing Oakland’s manager because he was obviously wrong and acting like an idiot.
Finally the umpire had enough and made a, “You’re-outta-here!” gesture while the crowd erupted in cheers. I loved it.
I couldn’t help wondering, though, how the gathering would have reacted if the umpire had called the batter and runner out and the Texas manager had rushed out of the dugout to argue. They would have booed so loud you would have heard it in Oklahoma. When the manager got kicked out, they would have covered the umpire with verbal abuse.
Same play, different reaction. Why? Because the crowd was self-interested. They saw “right” through the lens of what they wanted and what benefitted them.
Our “right” often has more than a twinge of self-interest.
For instance, if I were king of the world and you messed up, I would judge you and punish you as your acts deserved.
But, if I messed up I would have mercy on me because after all, I’m the king of the world and I decide what’s right. Wouldn’t it be nice? I suspect most of us judge things like that anyway.
Who Gets It Right?
Honestly, only God is capable of completely getting it right every time.
Recently there was a high profile case in New York where a man was arrested after more than 30 years on the run. He was charged in an unsolved case of child abduction and murder.
The facts were horrible. A six-year old was on his way to the school-bus stop near his home when the murderer snatched him and killed him.
What complicates the story is what happened to the assassin afterwards. He seems puzzled himself as to why he did it. He settled down, got married, had children, became a faithful church member, etc. Except for that one “anomaly” he seems to have led a good life.
Let me ask you, though. If you were on the jury that tried this man would you acquit him? His lawyer could argue, “Except for this one deed, he’s been a good man. You should consider the whole of his life and not this one exception. We’ve all made mistakes.”
Would you say, “Let him go,” if you were the little one’s parents?
Lots of people say, “Well, I know I’ve sinned but I’m not that bad. Look at all the good I’ve done. I’m a good person. Why do I need a Savior? I’ve sinned but certainly not like what this child murderer did. I don’t think God will judge me because I’m a pretty good fellow on the whole.”
Compared To Who?
Compared to child-murderers I suppose we all come out pretty good. But, is that the standard that God holds next to us? He said, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “The glory of God!”
Yup! God’s not comparing you to the fellow next to you. His standard is His own glory and perfection.
“But, next to God we’re all nasty!”
Bingo! You got it.
The good thing is that since sin is universal in us–big sin, little sin, it’s all way short of God’s perfection–God has condemned us all. “That’s good news?” Hang on, I’m not finished. He’s condemned us all so that He can have mercy on us all (Romans 11:32).
Jesus paid the price for our crimes (yes, that’s what our sins are when held up to the light of God’s glory). He died for us and His Father raised Him to life that third day. Now, He has mercy on everyone who comes to Him sincerely repenting of his sin.
“I have sinned, Lord. Please forgive me and save me from my sins for eternal life. I believe that your Son Jesus died on the cross for the wrong that I had done and You raised Him to life the third day. Thank you Jesus that You hear my prayer. You cleanse me and make me your very own.”
“It is the secret of faith, which is the burden of our preaching, and it says, in effect, “If you openly admit by your own mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and if you believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” For it is believing in the heart that makes a man righteous before God, and it is stating his belief by his own mouth that confirms his salvation. And the scripture says: ‘Whoever believes on him will not be put to shame’.
And that “whoever” means anyone, without distinction between Jew or Greek. For all have the same Lord, whose boundless resources are available to all who turn to him in faith. For: ‘Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’. (Rom. 10:10-13, J.B. Phillips)
Maybe I don’t want to be King of the World after all. The Lord Jesus does the job very nicely.
“I recently heard John Eldredge make the point that it’s easy to be brave when you are sitting in the safety of your own office. You can hurl digital spears at your adversaries without without the risk of a real, live encounter. But confronting people face-to-face—or even over the telephone—is a different matter. That takes real guts. But it can also lead to real solutions. The real question is whether we want to merely make a point or solve the problem.” Michael Hyatt http://michaelhyatt.com/