Virtue And Righteousness

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Virtue and righteousness are moral obligations but they
are often done with false attitudes that nullify
much of the good that is done. The defects come from the bad
motives people often have for performing good acts.
As T.S. Eliot suggested, greatest treason is the
doing of the right thing for the wrong reason.

People love to do good and righteous things so they
can show themselves superior to others. Some like to
talk about how low others are which will demonstrate how
morally high they are. It is a way of showing off
their own righteousness just as the respectable in
Jesus time had trumpets blown before their respectable
and rich selves as they gave charitable money to the
poor.

Jesus told the righteous to do good for people quietly so they
would not create and exploit a picture of themselves
helping the poor, needy or miserable as self-glorification.
He said not to let one hand know what the other was doing.
Then God who saw in secret would judge silent givers as truly
compassionate, not as those false people trying to show off
what poseurs they are in doing their good.

The Lord wanted us to give out of caring and concern.
Jesus wanted us to demonstrate righteousness in our
living as a way of praising God for all He has done
for us. He did not want to live righteously so we
might rub into others how moral we are.

We should remember that all people share the same sinful
human nature, so we are all sinners together. We should
help those less fortunate than us. But we must not
pretend that because we have more we are therefore better
than others. That sours the gift, sours the person
being given to in a patronizing manner, and sours the
person who is giving.

We are to give out of love and compassion for other people
who we realize are potentially good people inside themselves,
no matter what misfortunes have befallen them or unwise
choices they have made.

Good people realize others need to be helped. Some have no common
sense. Others lack opportunity. Others lack schooling.
Others have not the mind to take schooling. Many are
not so much inferior as misled. Some have simply never
had a chance. Others are addicted to unfortunate chemicals.
Others say the poor “should be deserving.” Now the Lord
through common grace has given us the Sun. Not everyone
under it is deserving of it. But the Lord shares it
with all. The things given through common grace show
our God is not a small Spirit. The Revelations given
us through special grace, such as love in sending
Christ to redeem us, shows a bigger Spirit. Who are you
to say who deserves grace? Spread grace as the sun shines light,
leaving all judgment to God. The duty of a good person is to
live from a good heart made benevolent by God.

So do not be snobby in giving and use being well-to-do
to look down on others as being immoral and poor.
What do you know to judge another? As Jesus
said, “Judge not that you be not judged.”

Nor be snobbish about living right so that you
try to show off to other people that you are
better than they are because you live more morally and
righteously than they do. You can live morally
and be mean. True moral living comes from a
good heart that is benevolent because it is
in harmony with God and full of grace.

Live out of your heart filtering your impulses to righteousness
through your brain. As the Apostle implied, in living, use the
“eyes of the heart.’’ True righteousness is living from a good
heart redeemed from selfishness by the
love of Christ, but in that love examine it with your brain.
Does it advance Christ? Will it glorify God? Very good.
But do not use righteousness for narcissism so you may admire
how good you are and so much better than others.

Now the Apostle said we should speak grace but season our
speech with salt. Well, I have spoken true on grace; so
it is time for salt. The truth is the motives of this
day and age are not synchronous with Christ. Instead
image making to sell ideas and objects for profit and
political power is the fashion.

Our society stinks with exploitation of the good and
ignorance of the true principles of service and how service
should be accomplished. The country is full of selfish ones
using political untruths as propaganda to gain political
dominance. Or it is sick on false advertising lying to the
people to make money.

Today's motives are hardly spiritual. But how could a
non-spiritual country know spiritual motives or spiritual
strategies? And to make the country non-spiritual, God-free
and godless has been the motive and wish of our present liberal
elite whose sick minds and warped values dominate life, law,
government, morality and thinking in America at this time. How
long, oh Lord? How long?

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.