Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sanctity and Self-Righteousness

I wonder if the sign of true sanctity is this: others seeing virtue in us that we do not see in ourselves. Pride and self-delusion, conversely, is seeing in ourselves virtue others cannot.

I have been thinking about that old saw, the one where the fellow asks another, "Are you a Christian?" The asked man answers, "I am not sure. I believe in Jesus, but as to whether I am actually a will need to ask my banker, my business partner, my neighbor, my children, my enemy. They can tell you."

I suspect that pride and self-delusion are at the heart of many of the church's ills...we see in ourselves what others cannot. We imagine ourselves to be humble, loving, serving, when that is not others' experience of us. True sanctity would be the opposite. That is, we would see only our failings, not our "successes"; we would counfess only our sins, not our righteousness (at least we believe in Jesus!). It would be left to others to say whether or not we are actually Christians, which is what Jesus said: They will know you are Christians...

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