Righteousness or Rightness

Have you ever had what I call Nathan moments?  These are those times when you have chosen, spoken, or acted badly – and the Holy Spirit of God/Allah tugs your heart with a situation, different but parallel to yours, and you rise up in righteous indignation to rightly judge that other situation — only to hear the Divine loving confrontation – as Nathan the Prophet did with, then king, David – “YOU are that man.
Those times teach the difference between being right and being righteous.  Those are growing pains of the soul.  Embraced and attended, they are growing pains; we come through them stronger, richer, and more teachable than we went in.
I’ve been having these fairly regularly of late.  Some people get prophetic revelations or ecstatic trips to Heaven, I get the loving, Nathan moments from my Coach and Cheerleader.  He knows my frame, and He is relentless in His work of teaching and polishing His own – I am one of those, and I wouldn’t trade this relationship for anything in this world or the next.
The other day, after both main US political parties had completed their conventions and named their final candidates for President and Vice President, I was weighing the content of those two elaborate, theatrical events.  I was digesting as much backstory, second-guessing, and peripheral content as possible, in my effort to be a faithful citizen-voter and representative of my set of values.
At the same time, I was disenchanted with both groups from my vantage point of being a senior citizen, living solely on Social Security, trying creatively to stay away from added, pitiful ‘government programs for the very poor’ – a group I was swiftly being defined into.  I was considering some drastic life changes in light of all this, and feeling very much like a “helpless little old lady.”  I’m rich in people that love me – don’t get me wrong – but these are mostly far away and very busy in their own everyday lives.  My solitariness was looming large.
In this mode, none of the items on my varied to-do list seemed relevant, and several activities that comprised “my work” the last few years actually seemed fruitless and vain – as if the last seven years of my life had actually been misspent – missing their point!  Again, there was no human that could speak to this moment.  I needed to hear my Creator’s voice, and I needed it now.
With a short whimper of a prayer, I flipped open my Bible – half asking, half not believing He would answer – to see if I could find the place from which He would speak to me.  As is often the case, I landed in Psalms (strategically placed in about the middle of the whole Bible), and my eye spotted Psalm 72:12:

For He delivers the needy when he calls, the poor also and him who has no helper.

…and him/her who ‘has no helper.’ This lept off the page at me.  Nathan was there.  How can I believe I ‘have no helper’ when the Creator Himself is so ever-present that He draws me to the very promise that pinpoints my need of the instant!  My ‘need’ was to be reminded of God’s power, love, and faithfulness – His ever-present help in times of need!
So, naturally, I began to look at the surrounding verses.  As often as I have read the whole Bible and the Psalms in particular, I do not remember ever seeing that verse!  It turns out that this Psalm was written as a prayer of King David for his Crown Prince and son, Solomon.  In this Psalm, David sings his prayer to the Lord God of Heaven and Earth – the Creator Himself, who has called David a man after His own heart.
Please do yourself and the planet a huge favor.  Please find a Bible and read Psalm 72 as a prayer from  your heart.  It is a Divine blueprint for righteous governance – the recipe for a prosperous nation to function righteously amid the family of nations. This is for governments, not just political, but organizational, institutional, corporate, and in families. If this counsel and strategy were ever needed, it is needed right now – today – in our world!
If we people who belong to Jesus and long to see our nation taking its rightful place on the Earth will pray this Psalm 72 from our hearts, I believe there will be that promised deliverance I found in verse 12 (needy and poor have many ways of expressing, even among the financially rich and powerful).

There is a glaring difference between being right and being righteous.  Most of us can recognize at a glance the wrong elements in the belief system or life choices of others – especially when those are not our wrong elements.  Most of us derive some small or snide satisfaction from noting such things and declaring our right standard or perspective – sometimes loudly and with unkind vulgarity.

Holy Spirit “Nathan” comes to me and asks:  But does that help?  Is this  behavior of yours serving to heal the breach or bridge the gap or empower the flow of mercy and grace?  Is it more important to you to establish your personal rightness at the expense of another’s chance to grow or heal?  Is that behavior in line with My heart of love for My whole creation?

Now, I’m pressed to find an example that I could defend in such a conversation.  I am silenced by His relentless love and patience – even with me.  I long to have His holy character woven into my fabric and to express it through my life to those I touch.  And I remember, on reflection, that even the worst of the worst humanity was created in the image of my Lord and King.  I remember that someone needs to stop and listen, to see and hear what these others believe to be true, upon which they are basing their choices and actions, so we can love each other into grace and light.  I remember, once again, that until we seek understanding of each other, there can be no optimum outcome and no peace – no good fruit from our shared lives.
And once again, I volunteer to be that someone – by the power of my promised Helper.  

Train my heart, O God, to see as You see and love as You love – for Jesus’ sake and Your glory, Amen.

Light shines in darkness, and illumines all of our hearts and minds.  This Eternal Light is that bright place where right and righteous merge and by His grace, we find the place of peace – speaking truth in love!

Here’s the challenge that faces each one of us – as a command and invitation.  How will we respond?