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A Plea to Avoid Self Righteousness

The world is broken. Mankind broke it. Somehow, it seems like this fact is often forgotten. Many Christians seem to react with disbelief when confronted with the ways in which mankind has butchered this world.

The brokenness of this world is obvious in the headlines that assault one’s eyes upon opening the webpage to the Associated Press: “Floyd’s girlfriend recalls their struggles with addiction,” “Company producing J&J vaccine had history of violations,”“Justice Department working with tribes on missing persons,” “7 Hong Kong democracy leaders convicted as China clamps down.”

Let’s take the first story as an example. If we examine the information that has been made publicly available regarding George Floyd’s death, an intellectually honest and humble opinion will admit that no one really knows the truth of what happened or what it should mean for American society. [1] Although there will be a decision made one way or the other by the jury, that decision will be made based on the strength of evidence, not the objective truth of the matter.

This simple fact should act as a warning to all of us to avoid being self-righteous.

Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

We have rarely seen such a time of polarization in American history. Roughly 90% of voters on both sides of the 2020 Presidential Election said that they would “be very concerned about the country’s direction and that [the opposing candidate’s election] would lead to lasting harm to the U.S.” [2]

These are dangerous times for our nation. Not only have Americans of different political persuasions come to fear and distrust each other but they have also done so over racial lines.

Across the board, hate crimes based on race reached a decade high in the year of 2020. [3] The kind of self-justifying attitude that makes someone feel entitled to abuse another human being on the basis of their skin color is deeply dangerous. Concerns about this attitude must cut both ways.

With stories like the George Floyd case, there is an inevitable tendency to mischaracterize people whom most of us have never met as being wholly innocent or wholly guilty when the Bible tells us this is simply not true.

Romans 13:10-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

At this particular point in history, the last thing we need is to arrogantly assume our opinions are infallible and to recognize that our fallen world is broken because of our sins in the Garden of Eden. If our country is to survive, the right and the left need to drop the polarizing dichotomy of “us vs. them.” We are all human, we are all broken, and, frankly, none have all the answers.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

[1] Steve Karnowski, Amy Forliti And Tammy Webber, “Floyd’s girlfriend recalls their struggles with addiction,”Associated Press (April 1, 2021), https://apnews.com/article/derek-chauvin-trial-day-4-live-updates-c07446515f2bf6b8b45d56cdf6810d67

[2] Michael Dimock and Richard Wike, “America is exceptional in the nature of its political divide,”Pew Research Center (November 13, 2020), https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/11/13/america-is-exceptional-in-the-nature-of-its-political-divide/

[3] “US hate crime highest in more than a decade –FBI,” BBC (November 17, 2020), https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54968498

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