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Vindication & Humility

May 22, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

This past Sunday I began the sermon by talking about vindication. I said,

“Everyone wants to be vindicated, proven to be in the right. Too often the desire for vindication comes in midst of conflict. One person sees things one way, the other person sees things another way and they both think they’re right. They both want to be proven right and more than that, they often want the other person to see that they were, in fact, in the right all along. Too often this kind of vindication comes from sinful motives, and the end result is pain for one or more parties.”

From these reflections, I went on to talk about a happier kind of vindication, but over the past several days my mind has been turning over and over this negative kind of vindication, the kind of vindication that comes from sinful motives. I’ve been thinking about the kind of vindication that is rooted in pride, and has the profound effect of spiritual blindness.

I’ve certainly seen this kind of vindication in the lives of others, but the more glaring instances of this kind of vindication are much closer to home as I’ve even seen this in my life. The clearest example of this in my life is sometimes this tendency of unwillingness to grant even the possibility that I could be wrong about a series of circumstances and events. Such an unwillingness to grant even the possibility that I could be wrong fails to consider the basic biblical facts about God and myself.

The reality is that I am not sovereign and I am most certainly fallen. Like you, my memory can fail me and my perception can be inaccurate. Only God is never wrong. Only God correctly perceives things perfectly. Only God never forgets. In this life, you and I will incorrectly perceive things, you and I will forget, and you and I will misunderstand. This rejection of basic biblical facts is nothing less than pride and is has a two-fold effect. First, it damages our relationship with God, and secondly, it will (if it hasn’t already) damage our relationships with others.

With respect to God, if we’re living in this state of unwillingness to grant the possibility that we’re wrong, we’ll begin to justify our words and actions in an effort to justify ourselves before God. That is always a dangerous place to be. With respect to others, an unwillingness to grant even the possibility that we could be wrong hinders our ability to see the love of others toward us and even to be reconciled to them. It will be very difficult for us to biblically relate to others in this life, if we are unwilling to grant even the possibility, if not more, that we could be wrong. It is possible that we will find ourselves at an impasse in relationships time and time again, if we haven’t experienced it already, because we’re unwilling to see our own error and sin.

The problem is pride and the root of pride is found in the desire to be what we are not, God. The good news is that the Son of God humbled himself and took on flesh to save a proud people like you and me. The good news is that the Spirit of Christ not only opens our eyes to our sin, but directs our eyes to the cross, and at the cross we find hope and power to pursue humility rather than personal vindication.

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