“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:4
“to DO righteousness and justice,” Note the proactivity in this proverb. Sure we do church, we do some Bible reading, but are we acting with righteousness and fairness?
I smarted off to a respected coworker and friend yesterday. It wasn’t intended to offend, but it wasn’t kind or understanding or seeking to see things from her perspective.
Being a direct person by nature, (and probably led by the Holy Spirit to gently correct me) she commented that it was harsh, that it stung.
I felt immediate regret at my insensitivity and apologized right there. She brushed it off as unimportant, but the yucky feeling stuck to me.
Words that I said caused hurt. Words that I spoke, with the intention of communicating a complete lack of empathy. And although I smoothed it over with wry smile and a sarcastic tone, they caused some hurt.
And that got to me.
I realized I was trying to rationalize it away. To push away the heavy feeling in my gut. I thought, I’ll speak to our friend who was there, too. She will be on my side, she will tell me that there’s no reason to feel guilty.
I tried to ignore the feeling for some hours. Told God that I was sorry. I knew my words or my heart’s condition in that moment had not glorified my heavenly Father. I am reading Proverbs, and I remember how often it speaks of the damage that words can cause.
This coworker knows I am a Christian. She is too. If I am seeking to glorify God, to bring honor to Him through my life, I failed here. In the face of a fellow Christian sister and in the face of God.
That’s not DOING righteousness for sure.
Then my husband taught on 1 John.
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.”
1 John 2:9-10 ESV
And I was convicted further.
So. Although I had offered some semblance of a lame apology in the moments following my comment, and I felt certain that there were no lasting hard feelings between us, I pulled out my phone and typed out an apology that I hope was seen as sincere.
Because I need to do righteousness. In those moments with my co-workers and afterwards, if I’ve really stepped in it. The Holy Spirit nudged me, convicted me, and suggested I give a more meaningful apology. I need to own the fact that my behavior could be a stumbling block, to me or to my friend. I wasn’t walking in the light.
Today, doing righteous looked like apologizing.
Doing righteousness is obeying.
I need to do righteousness at home with my children, my husband.
I need to do righteousness when I’m at our boys’ therapies. When I’m buying coffee from the local smoothie shop. When I sit down to be served by that overworked waitress. When I’m at church, when I’m teaching, when I’m praying alone in my car for the strength to get out and do my day.
Do righteousness. Do it.
Don’t just think it.
Don’t just try.
Speak words of life, even if you’re overworked and under-noticed.
Pray with your friends, right there, in those moments.
Apologize when you stick your big foot in your big mouth.
Carve out precious time for your spouse.
Speak of all the individual goodnesses of God in your own life.
Hug your children.
Read, study, be nourished by God’s word.
Don’t stumble in the dark, walk in the light.