The images that are carried about are burdensome…. (Is 46:1).
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it only leads to death. Such is the way of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness ties down heavy loads on its fellow man. It seeks not to understand their plight, but to burden them with the weight of it. Self-righteousness does not consider the individual, nor their pain, but simply, the severity of their sin.
We are all self-righteous judges in our own right. I lived this way for many years, feeling as though my job was to act like the sin police, reminding people of the gravity of their sin and the consequences of it. In doing so, I only stacked even an even greater burden of condemnation on their back.
This is how the Pharisees lived and Jesus called them a brood of vipers, white washed tombs and warned His followers against their behavior.
God, lifts our burdens from us. He becomes a place of safety and peace. Should not our job as Christians be not to pour down judgement, but to point people to the lifter of their burdens?
Compassion and love is the key. Without compassion for our fellowman it will be impossible to do this. Self-righteousness puffs up our pride, it blinds us to the reality that we too are sinners in desperate need of the gospel. Self-righteousness keeps us from having compassion for anyone else, except of course, ourselves.
Yes, we should call out a person on sin if God directs us to do so, but if we do it without love, we have become a self-righteous, condemning Pharisee. Harshness, rarely, if ever, wins a person over, but love does.
Love is what kept Jesus on the cross. Love is what sent Him to die for us and love is what draws us to repentance. Love is God’s motivation when we are disciplined, because without it, we would stay the same old wretched sinners. Love is what should be our banner as Christians. Love is what changed the world over 2000 years ago and love will come back again in the last days to make all things new.
Jesus, I have lacked compassion and love; forgive me. I want a deeper heart of compassion for those around me. I want to be like you. Abba, transform my heart. Grow your love and compassion in me, so that people can go to the lifter of their burdens. Help me to balance grace and truth for your glory, in Jesus name, amen.