THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
The challenge of our faith is to recognise our choices and choose wisely. One temptation is to make faith about what goes on in our heads, making righteousness about right ideas and wickedness about wrong ideas. Usually, this temptation leads us into legalism, finger pointing, angry debate, and exclusion. Another temptation is to strive so strongly for inclusion and acceptance that we become naive about wickedness, and forget that there is true evil in the world. Usually, this temptation leads us into a watered down form of faith in which we stand for nothing, accept everything, and pretend that all ways of living and believing are equal – which they clearly are not (just ask anyone who has been the victim of religious violence).
So, the challenge we face is to identify what righteousness and wickedness really are. The Scriptures are very helpful in this quest this week. James speaks of righteousness in terms of humility, peacefulness, gentleness, mercy, fairness, and authenticity. Jesus speaks in similar terms in the Gospel of Mark – the greatest in God’s Reign are the ones who are willing to serve and to welcome the least and most vulnerable. To live righteously, then, is to allow our lives to reflect the character, the integrity and the servanthood of Jesus. Wickedness would be to do the opposite of these things.
Once we’ve identified the choice, we must make our decision. It may seem easy – we all want to be righteous. But, when it comes to the tough challenges we face in our world – when we are attacked by others, when we are judged and misunderstood, when we are weighed down with the busyness and routines of every day – it can be hard to live with the integrity and love of Jesus. This means that the choice to live as righteous Christ followers is not a once-for-all decision, but a daily commitment. This week will help us to practice making that commitment each day.
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