How It Should End

Story of the Day for Monday July 2, 2012 

How It Should End

 

                   Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now want to reach your goal through human effort? 

                                                                   Galatians 3:3

Why is it that, whenever we try to be more religious than other people, we end up becoming worse?

The Puritans felt the Reformation didn’t go far enough. Seeking greater purity, some separatist groups removed themselves from other Christians.

Alice Morse Earle, who liked rummaging through old documents, discovered some juicy news from these groups. John Lewis and Sarah Chapman, she found, were accused and tried for sitting together under an apple tree on the Lord’s Day. A soldier from Dunstable was fined forty shillings for wetting a piece of an old hat and stuffing it in his shoe on the Sabbath. In 1656, Captain Kemble from Boston was put in the public stocks for his “lewd and unseemly behavior” of kissing his wife at the doorstep of his house. (This was the first time Kemble had seen his wife since a three year voyage).

 

Why have so many people done things in the name of Jesus that Jesus himself would deplore? Could it be that, whenever we seek to become superior to others, we’re moving in the wrong direction? The prime virtue of a Christian should be humility. When we discover we’re covered in muck — just like everyone else — we can honestly report the grim news to God, and know he’ll forgive us. Humility is what faith is about.

Seeking to be better than others, however, neglects humility in favor of pride, judgmentalism, false piety, self-righteousness, minimizing personal faults, fear of those on the “outside” (which breeds slander) and group conformity for fear of expulsion.

 

“Well, Bartholomew, I thank God we aren’t like the heathen.” (pride)

“Me, too.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“The heathen probably lurk in dark alleys and torture cats.” (fear of those outside the group, which leads to slander)

“Yup.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“But, praise God, on the Judgment Day, the Most High will reward us for the fruit of our labors.” (self-righteousness)

“Yup.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“Hey, are you eating that without praying first?” (judgmentalism)

“It’s, ah . . . it’s just a stalk of celery.” (minimizing personal faults)

“So? I thank the Almighty for every morsel that touches my lips.” (false piety)

“I thanked the Lord, but I said it in my head.” (lying to cover own sins)

“You should’ve at least bowed your head in reverence.” (false piety)

“I’m going to do that from now on.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

 

We begin the new life by relying on the grace of Jesus, and that’s how it should end.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)