Performing for nothing?

The debate between whether a person must do good works to receive forgiveness and/or favor with God versus everything being a free gift from God has been a point of debate and confusion for centuries.

While brushing my teeth this morning it dawned upon me that wealth and social status can be a helpful way to think of the reason I, and many others, secretly and even unconsciously reject the idea of God freely giving us all things.

If you ask a relatively successful person if they would be willing to push the reset button to start all over at ground zero in the company of the poor and underprivileged, the answer would likely be an emphatic, “No”. A person enjoying the multiple privileges being born into a certain class, ethnicity, and parents, would not want to trade places with those they would consider of lower social status.

A Gospel message of Jesus dying for the sinner and how he came for the sick, the broken and the hopelessly unrighteous is a nice idea that many champion until it means that I must surrender all spiritual or moral status to be a beggar before the throne of grace. There seems to be an endless layer of “I’m not as bad as (name or type of people) voices echoing in the chamber of our soul.

I am struck by how deep this “I’m a pretty good person” belief resides in me. The parable of the rich younger ruler and the Laborers working for the same wage but different hours obviously speak to this condition.

It troubles me to think that I am too proud to truly identify with the lowliest of people, even if only in my own mind.

Performance orientation and self-righteousness seems to be more than a state of mind — it is a disease of the soul. God have mercy!

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