February 10 - The Anger of the Self-Righteous

By Mike Clarensau

Devotional Scripture: Matthew 26:63–66

Central Thought: Self-righteousness compromises one's judgment.

    Jesus' arrest was a perversion of justice. Of course, we know that Jesus came to earth for the purpose of dying for our sins, so the equity of His trial may seem a moot point. But it was clearly unjust. After all, if you're determined to give the death penalty to someone who's never sinned, you're probably going to have to manufacture some of the evidence.

    While we cannot learn quality jurisprudence from watching Christ's trial, we can learn a lot about the human heart. The chief priests and other religious leadership were determined to rid themselves of Jesus. Their evil intent is seen in the steps of their process. First they arrested Him, and then they tried to build a case. The desired verdict had been established before a charge had been leveled. Libelous witnesses hadn't met the burden of proof. Finally, Jesus gave them what they were looking for when He described the picture they would one day see of His glory.

    Self-righteousness seldom leads to justice. Whether in the way we judge a neighbor's action or the attitude we have toward an enemy, we often write the verdict and then look for evidence to prove us right. Unfortunately, such an approach locks us into our verdict—right or wrong—and we are most usually wrong.

    Learn a lesson from these overzealous religious leaders: self-righteousness compromises one's judgment. The religious leaders' efforts to protect their places of authority caused them to condemn the very God they supposed to serve. What an unfortunate moment to have been so incredibly wrong.

Devotional Prayer: Lord, teach me to discern with an open heart. Keep me from the pride and self-righteousness that would judge the actions of others to my benefit.

Today's Bible Reading: Exodus 30:11–31:18; Matthew 26:47–68; Psalm 32:1–11; Proverbs 8:27–32