Romans 3:10 No one is righteous, no not one!
Strangely, I find relief in that verse. It lets me know that I’m not the only one making a mess of things. It also tells me, that I have no defense against unrighteousness.
For me, today has been a day of head-butting and face-slapping. One of those days where no matter where I step, toes are in the way.
If I had to cross a mine-field my odds would be a million to one I’m going up in flames after the first step. So what’s a guy to do? You keep marching forward. That’s what!
Life is fraught with mirrors just waiting to be broken. So don’t be surprised when you hear glass shattering when you least expect it.
When Paul said “No one is righteous, no not one.” He meant himself as well as others. He was cautioning his fellow Jews to not think too highly of themselves when comparing Jew to Gentile. But why? Everybody knows the Jews are the chosen people. Surely God held them in higher esteem. Much higher than non-Jews.
But Paul was telling them, “don’t get to wrapped up in the whole I’m better than you thing.” Because we are all “under the power of sin.” Only a fool would think otherwise.
But we can all have those moments or days, when we see ourselves as more than we really are. That’s when arguments can escalate from a disagreement into a fist fight. A misunderstanding explodes into a war of words that leaves everybody breathless and emotions run as hot as a Tuesday in July.
So what’s a sinner to do?
Accept that no one is perfect. Including us and them. It’s knowing that we can fly off course or the handle with the greatest of ease and least provocation. But God, mercifully has a safety net. He shows us the path back to the straight and narrow.
Sometimes it’s an apology. Sometimes it’s forgiveness. To withhold either shows how sinful we can be and how reluctant we are to repent. That’s just what the enemy likes.
Through his subtle subversiveness he divides and conquers. “You’re right! She’s wrong!” “You gonna let him get away with that?” “You don’t have to take that from them.” And in our weakened condition, we agree. We believe that we are righteous. We see ourselves without fault. In the right. Justified!
In a fight to the finish over bruised ego’s, all the combatants leave the arena bleeding. But the Great Healer is in the crowd. “No one is righteous!” No, not one.” But I still love you. I always have.
Here is our opportunity to ceremoniously turn the other cheek. To lay down our sword and put forth the first olive branch.
Our branch may get pushed away. Our outreach rebuked. But we can now go forth in peace knowing that the sin of pride only remains a sin, when we attach our identity to it. And with God, we know who we are and who’s we are.
The anchor of discord only becomes heavier the longer we mis-take it for the crown of righteousness. Lay it down. Life, love and better days are waiting.
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