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3 words every spouse (and person, really!) loves to hear: “you were right.”
We like to be right. Many of us like to do the right thing. In fact, our desire to be “right” is so strong and deep that we have opened its meaning up to include ideas like:
- Do whatever feels right
- Do whatever seems right
- Do what is right for me might be wrong for you
- Do the right kind of wrong
So warped is our idea of righteousness (the word which “right” is the root of) that we can live blissfully ignorant that our idea of right is absolutely wrong. This isn’t just a secular issue eluding functional logic and philosophy.
In our Christian circles, we’ve become deadset on “right” and “wrong.”
Churches divide over “right” and “wrong” decisions, big and small. Marriages end when one person is right and the other wrong. We examine Scripture to determine what we feel is right. In prayer, we sense what is “right” in our hearts. As we listen to and encourage our spouses and loved ones, we make determinations about what is “right” and push for it.
For many of us, pursuing righteousness encroaches on sin. We try to be right in order to:
- Assuage our fears
- Earn a good name
- Prove ourselves trustworthy
- Make ourselves wise
- Build up our pride
- Guide others
- Get to where we want to be
In all of these things, the goal of being right is ultimately about us. Ourselves, our loved ones, our futures. But righteousness only exists in relation to God. There is no such thing as truly being “right” apart from Him.
Psalm 16:2 tells us that “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
When we separate being right from pleasing God, we diminish the purpose of being right in the first place. We place our goals in the sin of self and this world instead of glorifying Him. As a result, being “right” is no longer a good thing –or a righteous thing.
Often we don’t see righteous as a part of following and glorifying the Lord.
Our twisted concept of righteousness is reward-based. (TWEET THIS!)
We “save ourselves for marriage” because it’s right…because it leads to healthier relationship and whatever other reasoning we’ve been told. We submit to our husbands because it’s right…because of the benefits and the way it makes him feel. We serve others on missions trips because it’s right…AND because we’ve heard so many times that when it’s over, WE are the ones blessed.
It’s not wrong to receive blessings from the Lord, even as rewards. All good gifts do come from God.
But sometimes our idea of being “right” is a lot like the idea of the kid who shapes up right before Christmas so that Santa will think he is “good.” That’s not righteousness.
Hear and recall the words of Romans 3:
“This RIGHTEOUSNESS is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
and all are JUSTIFIED FREELY by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Righteousness is all about our standing with God. It has nothing to do with works, but the position of the heart. Regarding our eternal relationship with God, we are saved. Sealed. Guaranteed because of the grace of Christ.
In regards to our relationship with the Lord right now on earth, we are to be:
“filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11.)
The next you want to be right or try to be or do right, remember why it matters at all. Remember that being right is all about the glory and the praise of God.
Is an eternity of close relationship with Him, praising Him, not our reward in heaven? Let it be your reward on earth, too.
….Even when you hear those treasured words: you were right, turn them into praise for the One who gets to determine that truth!