Ever have one of those moments when you do or say something that you know was a good and right thing and you only meant good by it only for others to attack you and assume the worst of you?
I had one of those moments several days ago. I’m the admin for a couponing group on Facebook that has many thousands of members. I shared an article from a popular box store we all know that’s all over the news for their new bathroom policy. The article had information about this store cracking down on couponers as part of their policy against resellers. They’re said to be grouping couponers along with resellers due to couponers often using a number of coupons to get the best deals they can.
So I shared this article and as the subject line I said I wanted to share this for those of them who are still shopping at this particular store. As I’d mentioned to a few friends who are in the group and also my friends outside of the group I added that I myself am not shopping at this store as I’m part of the boycott but wanted to share the article for those who are still shopping there.
That was it. That’s all I said. I thought my focus was on the information being share from the article that would affect many of them. But then like setting foot on a fire ant hill, I was attacked left and right. The group is often quiet and few but another admin and I offer input in the group but the member presence was definitely made known that night. I was called a hypocrite, a “fake Christian”, a bigot, a hater (and those were the nicest names). On and on it went. They were feeding on each other’s remarks. I didn’t want to delete the post or ban anyone at first. I was hoping other Christians stepped in to defend me (ever feel like Jesus is the only one Who has your back then realize His opinion is the only one that matters??) One of the attackers even went to my timeline and found a meme I shared at Christmas time and tried to use it against me. If that’s the worst she could find, the Lord must really be working on my timeline. It was a meme of words in the shape of a Christmas tree that said things like ‘less anger, less pride, less arrogance, and less this and that. Then the base of the tree was red words saying, “more Jesus.” She shared that post of mine and said I was “hiding behind Jesus”. I had the thought in my mind of, “I hide behind Jesus every day and am proud of that” and was just about to say that when the word “proud” stuck out at me. I knew if I said that in this context it would be defending myself and not Jesus.
How did my flesh handle the attacks? Let’s just say I got to know my back space key really well 🙂 I had all sorts of anger boiling up in me trying to make it’s way out through my fingers and onto the internet. I was so angry and had scriptures floating through my mind to use as bullets in self defense. Then it was like a warm sheet of peace came over me and told me to just sit back and watch. I didn’t say anything nasty in reply (not that my flesh didn’t try to get me to).
I started sensing the Holy Spirit speaking to me reminding me that this very large group of people I administer the group for are watching me. Some, I thought, were probably watching for how I would respond and my testimony as a Christian would shown or blown depending on how I responded. I knew there were many other Christians in the group and I had a number of “like”s to my posts but only two spoke up. But the only One who needed to defend me was the Holy Spirit and God is the only One who’s opinion of me matters in the end. I would have to answer to Him one day for how I responded.
I can shamefully admit that there are many more times in my life that the beast of Self Righteousness won the day, but this day I learned to listen to the still, small voice of the Lord speaking to me about loving my attackers. If I’m to be like Jesus, I need to learn to pray as He did, “forgive them Father, they know not what they do.” He also reminded me that we as Christians are told to expect persecution in the last days and that we should rejoice for being persecuted for being a follower of Christ because one day He will reward us. That sense of peace in the midst of the temptation towards self righteousness is like a whisper from the Lord that I’m growing a little more mature in my faith. Normally pride (self righteousness’s twin) would rule the day. Today it didn’t gain control. Thank you, Lord <3
It’s so easy to let the flesh rise up and respond in righteous indignation, and the object of our irritation may have our feelings be validated. But how we REACT to it is what makes us righteous or SELF righteous. I want CHRIST’s righteousness to shine through me. After all, His righteousness is the ONLY real righteousness.
We should seek Christ’s righteousness and not our own which is just the sin of pride.
I did eventually post a few replies and said I had stated my boycott comment due to some members thinking I’m promoting the store by sharing the article and I just asked for them to explain their stance on how I’m a hypocrite. I posted this to the head attacker and she left the group after I sent it : ” How so? You call Lisa and I fake Christians. If you know all about what makes a Christian real or fake, please share with the rest of us the scripture that shows your view to be true.” ….crickets…
A few days after this happened, a member messaged me outside of the group and thanked me for how I handled the situation. I was surprised because this happened very late at night and my co-admin wound up speaking up for me and then deleted the message so I assumed very few members had seen it but my new friend’s message made me realize I was wrong. I just hope the love of Jesus shined through.
I just read this on the Proverbs 31 website and it goes well with what I’m talking about today. I hope it blesses you.
Being Right Doesn’t Mean I’m Righteous, by Amy Carroll
“You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Revelation 2:4b-5 (NIV)
I still have pounds to lose and overflowing closets, but this year my resolution isn’t based on external goals. Instead, there’s a heart issue clambering for attention, and God is filling me with a simple prayer: Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous.
The word righteous means, “acting in accord with divine and moral law, free from guilt or sin” according to Webster. But being righteous and looking righteous are two different things.
Looking righteous is something I’ve mastered.
I know how to follow the rules, play the game and fit into the church crowd. Maybe you’re like me and are wired to work hard to get things done “right.” I like to please my peers and check items off my to-do list.
Often it wins me the approval I crave. I get pats on the back, and it all looks good on the outside.
But on the inside — in the quiet moments — I can find myself exhausted. Defeated. Numb. Those feelings let me know I’ve crossed from being righteous through Christ into trying to earn righteousness myself.
Sometimes my self-righteousness leaks out and reveals its ugliness through judgmental thoughts and attitudes towards others. That’s when I find myself looking down my nose at those struggling while thinking I have it together or snapping with impatience when someone delays my next task.
Then I read Revelation 2 in a new light. In this passage, Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for their good deeds. He praises them for hard work, perseverance, intolerance of wickedness, sound doctrine and endurance. It’s a list of wonderful works indicating righteousness.
But Jesus follows with a stunning and scathing indictment, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:4b-5).
Those verses highlight the root of the issue and reveal the Ephesians were in the same predicament as me. They were working hard, but without love they had become self-righteous, and God won’t tolerate that.
Could I have lost my first love? Was that the cause of my self-righteous thoughts? I began to think back to the days when I first fell in love with my husband. I was crazy about him, and couldn’t get enough time with him. Love for him filled me with an explosive joy bubbling over on everyone around me. Not only did I want to hug him, everyone else was in danger of being hugged too!
The same is true when my heart is overflowing with love for God. That joy bubbles over to those around me. It makes my heart sincere and gracious, rather than hard and judgmental.
To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others.
The beautiful part is God doesn’t call us to love without Him setting the ultimate example. His love is “wide and long and high and deep” (Ephesians 3:18, NIV), and it surpasses our thoughts and the works done in our own strength.
Pursuing righteousness solely through good works is an empty endeavor, always leaving us impossibly short of the goal. Returning to our first love ensures full righteousness as we follow Jesus, for He is our righteousness. “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV).
Renewing our first true love produces righteousness. True righteousness creates more love for God and others. It’s a beautiful cycle, and it’s a goal that transforms us.
Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous. In Jesus’ Name, Amen