Based on Based on Luke 18:8-14
I’m writing this week’s meditation in the midst of a “political firestorm” swirling around an Alabama candidate for special election to the United States Senate who’s been accused by five women of either sexually harassing or assaulting them forty years ago, when they were teenagers and he was in his early thirties.
The candidate in question has trumpeted his “Christian values” in a belligerent, insulting and “in your face” manner throughout his political and judicial career. His response to the accusations has been not caring or contrite, but confrontational. He’s questioned the motives of his accusers, threatened to sue them, offered dubious statements of defense and called the accusations a partisan political “witch hunt.”
It’s ironic – and a sign of God’s sense of humor and irony – that while the professed “Christian” candidate is mean spirited and angry, his opponent is best known not for his vain rhetoric or excessive proclamation of his faith, but for bringing Ku Klux Klansmen who blew up a Birmingham church and killed four little girls to justice many years after the fact.
The contrast between those candidates reminds me of something that one of my late preacher uncles was fond of saying – “Good religion is evident not in what you say, but in what you do.”
Remember that on your faith journey. My experience in forty years of ministry is that those who are truly faithful don’t have to regularly profess their faith in an arrogant, superior and self-serving manner. Those who are truly faithful will readily acknowledge their sinfulness and shortcomings, acknowledge the power of God’s grace in their lives and live their faith by the way that they reach out to, interact with and bring “uplift” to others.
Live your faith in a way that’s reflected in a story that Jesus told about a self-righteous man and a sinner who both came to pray in God’s temple in Jerusalem. Don’t vainly brag about how much you love the Lord. Love the Lord enough to acknowledge that you fall short of God grace, and give thanks for God’s mercy by loving others as God loves you.
When you do, God will stand ready to bless you, forgive you, prosper you and make a positive difference in your life that goes beyond worldly arrogance and says with one hymn writer, “Only what you do for Christ will last.”