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“Then Jesus added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’”

Matthew 9:13 NLT

When the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with “such scum,” He reminded them of God’s requirements—love mercy and walk humbly. (Micah 6:8) The Pharisees would have known that verse by heart, but evidently their pride had crushed humility.

Like the Pharisees, I too can THINK I’m righteous because of what I DO, and at the same time criticize others I KNOW are sinners because of what I think THEY DO! Jesus made it evident that kind of thinking and knowing needs to be adjusted!

THINKING I’m righteous focuses on what I can DO, whereas KNOWING I’m a sinner focuses on what I cannot DO. When I KNOW there’s nothing “I” can DO to be righteous, then I TRUST the God of mercy to make me righteous.

Righteousness is not about doing, it is about knowing—knowing that my Father loves me, knowing that He offers grace for my failed attempts to DO righteousness, and knowing that He offers the same grace to everyone else! In fact, the more I KNOW God and HIS righteousness, the more I KNOW my own unrighteous. And when I KNOW how much I need grace, then I freely give grace to others!

Criticism erupts from those who THINK they are righteous.

Mercy flows through those who KNOW they are not!

Which one am I?


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