I used to think my job as a Christian was to be a spiritual police. I actually looked and listened for someone to be wrong. And when I found someone I believed to be wrong, I jumped on my spiritual high-horse and chased them away. I was quick to "correct" others. The angrier I made people, or the more hurt I inflicted, the more justified I felt in being right. And everything was either wrong or right, black or white. No gray areas.
I offended many people over trivial issues, and took pride in it. I wanted to be a martyr, and looked for ways to become one. I loved a heated debate, and would twist another's words just to start an exchange. I almost always had Scripture on hand to back me up, and I dared anyone to argue with me.
I look back and realize my "job" was nothing more than my pride on display. I often think about the people I hurt and offended. My pride was more important than their well-being or my relationship with them. Being right was more important than being loving. Oh, how my heart aches at the people who may have needed love and encouragement, but received anger, arrogance and bitterness from me. What I didn't realize was that my self-righteous attitude was a stumbling block to others, not a help.
In my desire to be proven holier than everyone else I knew, I studied Scripture for the sake of knowledge. I didn't study to be transformed. I never thought it possible that I could actually sin. I was aware of my tendency to gossip, my little white lies, my "acceptable" sins, but I justified them because almost everyone else I knew committed those same sins. Oh, yes, I would tell you that I was a sinner saved by grace, and I would claim humility, but the truth was that I really didn't see myself as capable of sinning.
The turning point...
Temptation crept in almost unnoticed. The more tempted I was, the more I thought I could handle it. After all, I was a spiritual police. I didn't think I was capable of actually sinning beyond the "acceptable" sins.
In a matter of weeks, I was among the worst of sinners. Life as I knew it was over. God relentlessly pursued me, and used some very humble and genuinely encouraging people to sustain me. The next few years were filled with brokenness and humility; with experiencing grace and mercy in ways I'd never before known. My life became less and less about being right, and more and more about extending grace.
I can now truly admit that I'm far from perfect. I've committed sins among the worst of sins, and God covered them with His grace and mercy through Jesus.
Grace showed me that being right is not important; loving others is. God taught me that He is sovereign, which means He can take my wrongs (both intentional and unintentional) and use them for my good and His glory. In this journey with Him, I've found peace and joy I didn't previously know. I've found freedom in not always being right. I've found that God grants mercy and grace to cover and protect me and those in relationship with me.