Fall is my favorite season except for every four years. There are some political seasons that I wish we could just skip and go straight to winter.
But this morning, God met me in a quiet moment as I was reading an obscure corner of the book of Daniel. Daniel is offering a confession to God in prayer for his people . . . And he openly and quite directly stated to the Almighty, “To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame . . .” – Daniel 9:7
To us . . . open shame. To God . . . righteousness.
There could not be a greater distinction. And there could not be a better leveler of humanity than this. Were we all to stand shoulder shoulder facing the Almighty . . . None of us would stand out to Him regarding righteousness. Not me as a pastor, not Mother Theresa, not Billy Graham, not your political candidate, and not mine. All we would all have in that moment would be OPEN SHAME.
Our only hope is for righteousness and who is the one who all righteousness belongs to? And that means by logic that if we want righteousness we need to run to God for it. The only way anyone will obtain any righteousness is by God’s grace as a gift!
But I hear a lot of heated rhetoric and dialogue during these election seasons that amount to finger-pointing and making sure the other side is well stained and sullied. This passage calls me to consider my own open shame. It calls me to recognize we are all in this ship of fools together! And my only hope comes in the form of a gift outside of me. A righteousness that is not my own, that comes through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on my behalf.
The problem is NOT out there on the other side with THOSE people. The problem is in here . . . In this heart. It is not your shame I should be concerned with. It is mine. But further the solution to that shame ISN’T in here. The solution is out there. To God belongs righteousness. And I, for one, am glad He shares!
Let’s all take this political season to tone down the rhetoric. And maybe this season could be a time of some soul searching. To us, all of us, to all humanity belongs a common trait . . . Open shame! But to the Holy God belongs righteousness. Run to Him and ask Him for the righteousness that He alone can give!