A Place of New Beginnings
Society today is fixated on being “right” or correct. Self help books fly off the shelves announcing new diets, new ways of thinking, new fitness programs and even new religions and philosophies, each claiming the right way of thinking and living.
The focus on being correct has entered the political arena where “correct speech” is the focus, and anything which doesn’t fall under the broadly accepted idea of “correct” is now considered “hate”.
Jesus was never focused on being “politically correct”, in fact his teachings and his manner of living were often out of sync with what was culturally considered, “correct” in his day. He routinely hung out with prostitutes and drunkards. He had dinner with tax collectors and sinners. He did things, which were not considered to be “right” by the religious and political leaders of his day. By conventional standards Jesus was often “not right” but by God’s standard he was always “righteous”. Which is why I have concluded: “It’s better to be ‘righteous’ than ‘right’”.
Being right should not be our passion, being righteous should be. Jesus was righteous. He lived righteously, died righteously and rose from the dead in righteous victory. In fact because of his righteousness we too have been made righteous. Paul records in 2 Cor 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Our passion should be to live righteously. As believers we have been redeemed by Christ and made righteous by his atoning sacrifice. Our life’s pursuit therefore, should be to remain in his righteousness. Our focus should shift from always being right to being righteous. The focus of remaining in his righteousness rather than seeking always to be right is liberating.
We have been made righteous by the completed work of Christ, and not by our own efforts. Focusing on always being right causes pride and arrogance when we think we have been successful, and shame and defeat when we are proven wrong. By contrast remaining righteous in Him, strips away pride and arrogance and ushers in humility and gratitude. The people of God who live in His righteousness have been freed from the burden of always having to be right and can accept a brother or sister even though they may have a different theology than us. For the righteous, relationship trumps being right and love covers a multitude of sins, theirs and mine!
So this month as we uncover the value of righteousness lets remember, “It’s better to be righteous than right.”
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