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  • Matt Kinniburgh

RIGHTEOUSNESS | Mar 4-10, 2024



To catch up with our Lent journey, check out this post that explains our practice.


One of the phrases that I have heard a lot over the last decade is something like “I want to be on the right side of history on this.” This statement is often uttered about a cultural issue which, more often than not, is deeply nuanced and without a clear solution. When something comes without a clear solution and our desire is to be on the right side of history (which is hard to know since history is only written after it happens), one needs to ask, what drives this desire?


I think at the core of the desire for rightness is the longing for righteousness, to live in right relationship with God, with others, and with the creation. In the words of the Prophet Micah: “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). The problem is that we don’t always know how to do this and when things are nuanced, it is especially difficult.


There’s a lot of reasons why it can be easier to grasp for rightness over righteousness, but I wonder how many of them come down to fear. Fear of what if I’m wrong? What if I’m responsible for supporting something or someone that damages people? What if it turns out that I was against God? When we make choices out of fear, we are making movement away from righteousness because God does not make decisions out of fear, nor does he use fear as a motivator. Instead, as Scripture tells us, perfect love sends away fear, and the direct message from God and his messengers often include the words “don’t be afraid.” Fear destabilizes us and causes us to look for anything that can provide stability.


As a result, when we don’t walk in righteousness, we end up moving toward controlling the story and nurturing an obsession with certainty, also called rightness. The desire to be right and certain can bring with it pride, superiority, and judgment — where we look down on those who hold a different view than us. It can also keep us from faith as we put more trust in our viewpoints and opinions (and even our theology!) than we put in Jesus. But righteousness must depend on trust in Jesus. A life of apprenticeship to Jesus is a life where we place certainty in him, and allow him to lead.


 

READ

Matthew 6:33


REFLECT

How is the wanting of certainty or rightness expressed in my life?

What entanglements are showing up in my life as a result of chasing after this want?

If my wanting of certainty or rightness is actually a shared longing with God for righteousness, what might pursuit of righteousness over certainty look like?


RESPOND

Start with a confession. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal barriers to surrender that arise in you.

I confess that I have wanted ____ more than ____.

I confess the ways that I have become entangled by this want and renounce the lie that ____.

Now, choose repentance by turning toward God.

I confess that you are God and I am not and that your longing for ____ is actually my deeper longing.


FAST

As a way of living into your repentance, consider fasting from being right this week.

Leave things unsaid. Give up reading or watching your go-to news or information source.


RECEIVE

Read Psalm 23. Right in the middle of our entanglements (our enemies), Jesus meets us with love and provision.

Holy Spirit, what do you want to give me from the table you have prepared for me?


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