No room for self-righteousness at the inn

Praise of thanksgiving.  That’s it.  The bombastic insults you are hurling at my people, especially your people – your family – that will not do.

This is what I heard the Spirit saying to God’s people in the words of Psalm 50 , appointed this morning:

20 You are always speaking evil of your brother *
and slandering your own mother’s son.

21 These things you have done, and I kept still, *
and you thought that I am like you.”

22 “I have made my accusation; *
I have put my case in order before your eyes.

23 Consider this well, you who forget God, *
lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.

24 Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; *
but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God.”

I paused specifically, as I often do, at  this couplet:

20 You are always speaking evil of your brother *
and slandering your own mother’s son.

It cuts to the quick – doesn’t require a lot of unpacking for anyone, wondering what God was suggesting.  Speaking truth – getting to the heart of a matter that every one of us can understand.  Relationship.  Human relationship. That is where believers are called to live into and out their lives, rightly.

And if you know that you are someone who has slandered, insulted, spoken evil of  ‘your brother or your mother’s son’  – these words just cut right to the heart of the matter. Christians  are to see Christ in others – to love one another as we are loved. Not to be in relationship with others – and especially our families – with an eye and heart towards judgement, and self-righteous proclamation that asserts they are lesser because they don’t do xyz, and do things of which don’t approve.    bizarro-cartoon -you can't insult your way

Just as Bizarro’s comic illustrates, in my mind’s eye – a believer, yes, but you are being a jerk about it?

Self-righteousness just doesn’t play very well in God’s kingdom.

What else the couplet – You are always speaking evil of your brother and slandering your own mother’s son – brought to mind this morning was the recent political debate, where the ‘family’ of contenders for the Republican nomination for President were gathered once again to debate – discuss? – issues of import to the country.  And one of the siblings in that pack called the other out – without insult – speaking truth to power (albeit temporal power as a front-runner), I think – just as the psalmist did lo those many years ago.

“You can’t insult your way to the presidency.”

Now there was a statement that required no unpacking – no wondering what was intended in the meaning.  You heard the statement and whether or not you preferred the bombastic front runner over his fellow candidate, you couldn’t have disagreed.

You can’t insult your way to the presidency any more than you can speak evil of your brother and insult your way to heaven.  There’s just no room for self-righteousness in God’s kingdom.

I hope the same is true in the political arena.

Praise Him.

Daily Lectionary: AM Psalm 50; PM Psalm [59, 60] or 33
Zech. 4:1-14; Rev. 4:9-5:5; Matt. 25:1-13


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