RIGHTEOUSNESS is, most unfortunately, a much misinterpreted word in our day and age. Simply understood as “doing what is right,” we can understand there is a vast difference between doing what is acceptable in the eyes of the world and doing what is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.
Doing what is right depends on what standard we apply, but don’t forget whose term “righteousness” is; it’s not the world’s term — it’s God’s. Like the term “salvation,” God has the market cornered in the term, “righteousness.” Doing what is right is God’s business, and his followers follow in accord to that standard.
Doing what is right is no conundrum or abstraction.
If we know the Holy Spirit that resides within, we will have no problem at all discerning the standard we are to meet. We might wrestle on how to do it, but there is no doubt in us that the other person must benefit if we are to do what is right.
Doing what is right is not about us getting blessed. It’s about the other person getting blessed because of what we can do.
Let me recapitulate the above rendering…
For 2,000 years, the challenge for “today’s” Christian has been not to meet the law, but to exceed it. Jesus’ challenge is to meet the standards of grace, compassion, and kindness. The true Christian and especially the true Christian leader reflects purposefully on the Sermon on the Mount, and asks, “What would Jesus have me do.”
To meet the law by exceeding it is no new standard, yet it seems so comparatively rare. But it’s not just another person’s challenge; it’s our own. It’s not just about the grace, compassion, and kindness we didn’t receive.
It’s about the grace, compassion, and kindness we can give, today, and the grace, compassion, and kindness we did not give yesterday. It’s about the grace, compassion, and kindness we must give tomorrow.
Grace, compassion, and kindness.
Joy exudes from within us when we overcome our pride in Jesus’ name.
How will we overcome? By thinking in terms of grace, compassion, and kindness toward those who have wronged us! If we expect God to be the miracle-maker he is, then we will expect him to move from within us. And he will.
God moves into the space of our grace, compassion, and kindness; he will bless our friends and enemies alike, and utter strangers, through us, when we bow to him.
“Love one another as I have loved you,” said Jesus. “Love one another so love abounds, and by this, everyone will know you belong to me.”
One thing sets Christians apart from also-rans-of-the-faith:
Love others above self.
Love is always right, and we cannot be right unless we love.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.