As the words came out of my mouth I knew instantly that I had offended her. I was trying to be funny – but clearly I was not. I quickly tried to repent for the error of my ways. “I am really sorry. I was trying to be funny and instead I offended you. I am sorry and I hope you can forgive me.”
What felt like an eternity of silence seemed to pass before the hurt and angry look on her face turned to what appeared to be a smirk. I found this incredibly confusing, yet fearful I would dig myself in deeper, I remained quiet.
She then began to speak in a tone and a cadence that felt like she was imparting great wisdom and I knew I needed to listen.
“You know…I actually like my clergy…to have a little sin in their lives…I think it helps them not become self-righteous.” The smirk changed to a smile, and then a wink and then we both started to laugh.
While never advocating for sinful behavior, there is certainly something important about being clear that all of us fall short, miss the mark and don’t live into the fullness of who God has created us to be. My friend’s admonition was clear: never forget that all of us sin, but more importantly, never adopt a posture of self-righteousness.
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Mathew 7:3)
Over and over again Jesus is clear, judging others, living in a place of self-righteousness, is not how we are called to live. Rather, Jesus not only advocated but modeled the fact that humility was the way to holiness.
Judgement and self-righteousness appear to be at an all time high in our present world. As we seek to make Christ known during this Epiphany season, maybe one of the best ways we can try to accomplish this is to do our best to live in a place of humility.