Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1-27
I think THAT is the definition of righteousness as well. Most everyone in the world think they are the only ones right, So they say they are RIGHTeous.
I think the word righteous implies justified by a third party judge. The judge would have to be perfect (like Jesus). You can not be justified by yourself. I am trying to get my residency back here in Nicaragua (I owe a lot in fines because I had my residency here until 2005, so I have a long way to go.). But to get the residency, I needed a good boy letter from the police in Maryland. THEN I needed an apistle stating that I did not write the good boy letter myself. (makes sense). You need a third party signing and sealing it saying that by the standards of the Maryland law, I am clean as a whistle. You have to be justified (adjudicated) by someone else. To be justified you have to be judged. You need to be judged by a perfect point of view. That is why I am always amazed when one human being judges another human being. Paul says our righteousness is dirty rags.. Not just something ignored, but something absolutely disgusting!
The more I seek after righteousness, the more I realize that none of us are. ESPECIALLY ME! The more I pray and read the word of God, the more I see how far from the mark I am. Like when Jesus told us about the SELF righteous pharisee praying to himself in the temple, AGAINST the publican (I HATE TO BE PRAYED AT). The hyper religious guys said, Thank you God that I am not like this sinner, while the publican (tax collector sinner) would not even dare look up because he knew he was a sinner, and said, Lord have mercy on me. Genuine people all know they are sinners. Everyone knows they are sinners, except the religious. Jesus said the sinner publican was righteous, not the sinner religious guy.
That is why we are committed to a non conditional love for the poorest of the poor. The fatherless and widows. NO RESTRICTIONS. We do not want to train actors. We want to help the least of these. As my friends Ryan and Brian say, the WHOMSOEVERS. Who are we to select who we help and do not help. We are not equipped for that, only the Lord is. It is truly the Jesus style. I do not want to make anyone feel worse than they do. I want to love them with the love of God and help them to heal. We all have a lot to feel bad about already.
I think it is about living the TRUTH as much as you can in our own lives (even if it is not very complimentary). People will judge how you look, act and talk. Let them say bad things about you. Ever notice that none of them are exactly what we would call saints nor beauty queens themselves! and IF they are, wait til they are as old as you are and have a good laugh! Love God with everything you do. Hate sin in your own life (If you truly do, and are honest with yourself,, you will have a 24-7-365 job on yours hands). Things will work out and others will come to know Jesus as their Saviour because they see Him working in YOU.
Here is an mural of Noah in our prek at the Jim Winner Home. NOAH WAS RIGHTEOUS. That is why God had to shut the door to the arc. I do not think that Noah would have shut anyone out.
oh, by the way one of the many beauties in Nicaragua are the available great graffitti artists! This one was even sober.
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