Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have come to set the earth on fire,
and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized,
and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided,
three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son
and a son against his father,
a mother against her daughter
and a daughter against her mother,
a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
“I have come to set the earth on fire….
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?”
What sobering words.
If we wonder and lament about the evermore vicious Culture War we find ourselves in, recall those words, for Christ did warn us in Luke 21:12, 16-19:
“[T]hey will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name….
You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
Stand firm, and you will win life.”
For, as His followers, we are not of this world. Thus, the powers and all who are of this world will always hate and persecute us. And by their hate, we will know who they are (John 8:44).
In the undeclared but de facto civil war that we are in, when you and I get all puffed up with righteous moral indignation, be sure that we’re not being self-righteous — “Having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.”
So what’s the antidote to self-righteousness?
- Be sure that when we are on that moral high horse, our cause and our justice are God’s cause and justice.
- Humility: Don’t imagine that being righteous makes us morally superior or better than others.
- Love: The right kind of love. Not love of self — getting all puffy and grandiose that we are morally better than others — but love of God.
It’s always narcissism. Our stumbling block is always narcissism.
Remember that the Greatest Commandment of all is to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength.
He is our lodestar. Always.
Fix our eyes not on ourselves, but on Him — while we battle for what is good, and right, and true, and just.
And then perhaps someday, when it’s time for us to go, we too can say what St. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7:
I have fought a good fight;
I have finished my course;
I have kept the faith.
And may the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,