I am sorry.
This week it seems we are seeing the implosion of the Trump presidency, and I have been sorely tempted to say self-righteous things on line. It has been 4 long, hard years for me and many people I love, but I also love people of all political persuasions. So, this morning I just want to say to you, "I am sorry. I am sorry for the self-righteousness you have felt from me and people like me."
The way forward is being "poor in Spirit" as Jesus said, and I want it to start with me.
These verses are among my favorite in the whole Bible because I can identify with Paul. Like any high achiever, he knows what it is like to stack up human reasons to feel good about himself, but he knows that that self-righteous tower comes tumbling down when the earth shakes. Ironically, when we are emptied of our self and our own ideological foundation, we can be secure and have the energy needed to do good in the world. That's really good news.
" , , , we put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[c] For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Phillipians 3:b-14)