Rancor, righteousness, and redemption
This is good, all this divisiveness, public shaming, and indignant moralizing. You know why? Because when someone implies that I’m a cruel and heartless hypocrite, I actually examine myself to see if the slam sticks. And if enough of us do that we should expect that any conviction of selfishness, greed, cold-heartedness, or self-righteousness will result in repentance and a change in attitude and behavior. And given enough time, and enough shaming, humanity will succeed in achieving moral perfection on an individual and global scale.
Wrong. People have been calling each other out on their sundry evils, calling each other hypocrites when actions don’t match professed beliefs, and calling themselves morally superior since Adam blamed Eve for his own disobedience. And we’re no closer to moral perfection . . . individually or globally.
It’s still good though. The nearly constant volley of condemning accusations and angry retorts affords us various opportunities for positive outcomes from relational negativity.
- Some of us will genuinely own the fair criticisms lobbed at us and become better people.
- Some of those doing the lobbing, having been dragged before a mirror, will hate the hypocrisy they see and either rectify that or be a little more careful about voicing their condemnation of others.
- We who recognize that apart from a belief in God accusations of wrong and immoral behavior or attitudes cannot stick, have an opening to challenge the unbeliever to explain the foundation of his morality and show why anyone should do what another human being thinks is right.
- And some who have not believed or have not been serious about their faith will humbly acknowledge the awful state of their soul, fall on their knees in repentance, and receive the full redemption offered to all who do.
People – men and women, boys and girls – are naturally inclined to conflict. It’s sad but true. But there is a God who loves us and became man for us, who endured the worst public shaming you can imagine, though he was morally perfect, allowing the proud, vindictive, cruel and heartless humans whom he created to condemn, scourge, spit on him and kill him on a cross so that our sullied souls could be cleansed.
But if you want a bath you have to come to the water. No one can force you to take this once in a lifetime cleansing . . . an immeasurably valuable spiritual service that God offers freely because he wants all to live eternally with him, and this cleansing is absolutely necessary to share eternal life with a holy God.
Conflict between humans will continue till the end of time. But if you are still in conflict with God because of rebellion and stubborn self-will, that can end today.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10:19-22