Quick Thought Thursday: “Rightness” and “Righteousness”

One of the things I like to do as I read the scriptures is write down just one thing, one quick takeaway from the section. For me, it’s a process that helps me move from simply reading the Word to allowing the Word to read me.

It’s a simple practice that anybody can do, it helps to reinforce what I’ve read, and it gives me an opportunity to engage with what the Holy Spirit might be trying to teach me.

This is my “quick thought” from today’s reading in 1 Timothy 1-3

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” ~1 Timothy 1:5

Do I ever value “rightness” above “righteousness?”

To be filled with love! What a simple mission statement, and yet it’s so difficult to remain focused on that one purpose because I’d rather be filled with my own “rightness” instead of participating in God’s love which produces “righteousness.”

We get too easily lost in the weeds as we microscopically pick apart the scriptures when what we really need is to back away and see the bigger picture of “love.” Too often Paul’s writings are used as a weapon in “spiritual culture wars.” We pluck and pull verse by verse to back our own opinions and positions until we lose sight of God. When we value “rightness” over “righteousness” we risk having correct answers at the cost of compassion, and we’re filled with anything but love.

Furthermore, if we deeply desire to know God than being filled by his love and being transformed by his love are nonnegotiable because “God is Love.” In this way our “rightness” must be formed in the foundation of his love because that is where we have been cleansed and our consciences have been purified.

“To be filled with love,” it isn’t typically the first thing I think about when characterizing Paul’s instructions. Yet, when I step back to see the bigger picture, it becomes obvious that Paul’s “instruction” aligns perfectly with God who is Love, and is made known to us through Jesus.

This is what I heard in today’s reading, what did you hear?

#1John4:8 #John15:3 #1John15:7 #Hebrews9:14

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