"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor." - Proverbs 21:21
The pursuit of righteousness by itself can, and often does, result in an attitude of arrogance and self-righteousness. Our sinful nature deceives us into thinking that because we have been doing the right thing with some consistency for a while, we are better than others.
The pursuit of kindness together with righteousness helps to keep any success we have in “doing the right thing” from going to our head. It’s impossible to be genuinely kind and self-righteous at the same time.
Good deeds done in an attitude of condescension and self-righteousness stink. That attitude puts people off and makes them uncomfortable around us. But if we pursue a heart of kindness as we seek to do what’s right, we find ourselves naturally doing the right and good thing by other people; we discover a whole new life of genuine caring and service, and usually without being aware of it, we become known as truly righteous people.
Sometimes we find ourselves honored for it, much to our own surprise. It surprises us because we are so focused on doing the right thing while serving others in kindness that we are no longer paying attention to ourselves or who we have become.
People who want to become heroes rarely succeed. Genuine heroes are surprised when people want to honor them; they protest that what they did was normal behavior, because in most cases it was normal behavior - for them.
Lord Jesus, I want to be a good person and do what’s right. You know how perverse my sinful nature is and how easily it deceives me with sinful attitudes. Let your heart of compassion and kindness characterize my life today as I seek to do what’s right, guided by Your Word and empowered by Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles