“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 NRSV
How many remember the 1980’s? That time of big hair, parachute pants, gold chains, MTV, and outrageous slang. A favorite slang word was “righteous.” As in, “Dude, that is a seriously righteous ride!” Of course, meaning the person had a nice car. That’s righteous, today’s scripture talks about a different kind of righteous, conducting our lives in a way that is acceptable to God.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been reading about the exile and the hope of redemption for Israel. The consistent theme throughout the Old Testament is when they lived righteously and keeping the law, things went well for them. When they started behaving like other nations and forgetting their covenant with God, bad things would happen. No different from today, its a cause and effect relationship. Bad decisions lead to negative repercussions.
That does not mean that we are without hope. God is compassionate. As sinners, we live in a state of unrighteousness, but through the simple act of believing with our hearts and confessing with our lips (Romans 10:10), we are taking our first steps towards righteousness. In our acceptance, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, which helps us grow into righteous people.
As Christians, we need to ensure that our interactions with the world reflect God’s righteousness. When we speak in humility and passion about justice, we are demonstrating God’s light in us. Sometimes we see self-righteous people using the label of Christianity to promote an agenda. In might even be a good agenda, but unless it reflects God instead of themselves, it is genuinely not righteous. With God, there is no self, in righteousness -- there is only God.
God, most righteous and holy, we give thanks today for hope. By nature, we are unrighteous people, but through your salvation, you provide deliverance. Please help us to live in a way that is pleasing to you. Let our actions reflect you and not us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.