the difference between me and “them”


I love the Psalms.  They express worship.  They speak of God’s attributes and character.  His holiness, His awesome majesty, His great power, His unending mercy, His lovingkindness.  They show the sinfulness of man.  The wickedness of the human heart.  The struggle to follow God.  The temptation of the world and the lure of evil.  They pretty much cover everything.  They even expose the pride and bigotry of the fleshly mindset.

It was Psalm 5.  I was reading it and loving those opening verses.  The plea for God to hear.  The worship of sacrifice.  Then the description of evil men.  They’re despicable.  Evil.  They don’t please God.  Then, the psalmist turned the attention on himself.  Well, kinda.  He really didn’t focuseon his actions or character.  Well, take a look at verses 4 – 8:

You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me.

Psalm 5:4-8 NIV

Did you catch what he said (emphasis mine, of course, I’ve never heard my MDiv friends discussing the bold type in Hebrew)?  “By Your great mercy…in Your righteousness.”  The focus is all on what God has done and who He is.  He is righteous.  His mercy has granted us access to His house and the privilege to boldly approach His through.  Then, the contrast hit me.  The only difference between David and those guys in verses 4-6 is God’s mercy and God’s righteousness.  We all know that David’s actions were just as bad as those other guys at times.  But God’s great mercy made the difference.

So what about me?  I see those “other guys.”  Often, they don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.  They certainly don’t act Christian.  Then again, I don’t always act Christian either.  What’s the real difference between me and them?  Nothing to do with me.  It’s God’s great mercy.  I have it and they need it.  So why do I so easily look on them with judgement?  That’s the battle.

Lord, help me to see all people as Your precious, treasured creation.  Help me to be ready with love, a helping hand, and the gospel message.  Thank you for Your great mercy.  Without it, I would be lost and doomed for destruction.  Your lovingkindness knows no end.  Thank you.  Amen.

Brian

 

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