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Is Your Virtue On Backwards?

It's pretty normal in a house full of boys (ages 4-10) that at least once a week, SOMEONE has put shoes on the wrong feet or is wearing a shirt backwards. If I'm honest, it happens to me from time to time too (The other day I wore a shirt inside out for several hours, and didn't notice until my wife came home from work!). This is a sign of immaturity when growing up, or a sign of carelessness as one gets older and in a hurry, or a sign of stubbornness when you simply don't want to fix what is wrong. These days, many people are wearing Virtue backwards. They're signaling to others what is wrong in them, but ignoring what is wrong in themselves. This is not the point of Godly Virtue! Consider these two men in a story Jesus once told: He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14) All too often we're acting self-righteous and virtuous while staring down, talking down to, and otherwise considering ourselves superiors to others who do not live up to the standards of righteousness we set for ourselves. The point of being a Righteous and Virtuous person is not to conquer the evil without, but to let Jesus Christ use the Holy Spirit to destroy the evil and unrighteousness in ourselves. How many times have we been like the Pharisee, touting our credentials, and looking down on others who don't fit the bill? We should merely look to the Tax Collector for a truly humble heart, and cry out in solidarity "Have Mercy on Me, Lord! I am a sinner!" True godliness, TRUE virtuousness comes first from a humble, repentant heart, which says "My only desire is yours Lord, not my will but yours be done."

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