This week, I was struggling with forgiveness over a small offense, and I felt very far from being made righteous by His Blood, yet fully self-justified. I definitely had been wronged, and this was the small hill I was willing to die on. Surely, I could wait upon my throne of rationalization and expect an apology to be forthcoming. None came. I tell you one thing I’ve learned over the years: it’s darned lonely being right. It didn’t take long for the plot to take an unexpected turn. After basking in it all, it occurred to me that I was slowly dying inside, zapped of energy, only wanting to go hole up somewhere and be alone in my self righteousness.
I decided a little shopping trip was in order since I wanted to be alone but not that alone. A few days earlier, I put an mp3 recording of the New Testament in my car stereo. So, as I drove to the mall, I listened to Matthew. After several chapters of Matthew, I not only stood convicted, but softened. I heard Jesus say in chapter 5, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God…” then in chapter 6, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,” and finally, in chapter 7, Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own…” Okay, Lord. I want mercy for them that I may also have Your mercy. My own sin glared before me, and my heart softened toward my offender. I was no longer angry and exhausted, but strengthened and washed clean by the hearing of His Word.
We were not created to be right of our own doing. We were created for relationship-both with our brother and with Christ. Our holy God cannot co-exist in a heart filled with transgression. So we feel distant both with man and with God. And it is very real. But He graciously gives us an out. He gives a chance to make things right. He gives us His Word. A strange thing happens when we ponder God’s Word and have ears to hear. We find ourselves convicted and loved on all at the same time. I am so glad to have Jesus speak to my heart, to wash me with words that surely have healed many self righteous hearts, to restore me unto Him again. And somewhere along the way this week, I was given a gift of truth: Blessed are they who seek His Word; for they shall see their transgression, and return to the One who sets all things right.