The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.
When I was reading this verse, the question that came to mind was, “What does it mean to be righteous?” The dictionary defines being righteous as “morally right or justifiable,” and while this is still true from a Bible perspective, it is much deeper than surface level. I think while a human can never be truly righteous, he or she can have righteousness in them. Having righteousness is striving to be right in God’s eyes in all areas of life, such as character, attitude, words, and actions, and to put Him first in every choice. Those striving for righteousness are always people of integrity–they do what they say they will do when no one is watching.
At first, I was discouraged because there had been many times when I was not walking in righteousness or integrity. Then, I intentionally studied the lives of those in the Bible who were celebrated for their character and realized how imperfect they were. For example, Moses killed a man, David had an affair, and Peter cut off a man’s ear. The list of Bible characters with messy lives goes on and on. The only perfect person in the whole Bible is Jesus! If this is the case, then why was I beating myself up about not being perfect?
Once I realized this, it became easier to see myself as worthy and forgive myself when I mess up. I have discovered that the most important part of pursuing righteousness is to get back on track when I mess up, ask for forgiveness, and make the necessary changes to prevent the mistake from happening again. I realized that I am not walking in righteousness if I make a mistake and do the church thing of “asking for forgiveness” but not actually making changes.
Analyze: Are there areas in my life where I need to make adjustments so that I can do a better job of walking in righteousness?
Pray: Ask God for assistance in these areas and help me be a person of integrity.
Forgive: Learn to forgive myself when I mess up and get back where I know I should be.
Lord, thank You for Your constant forgiveness and that there is no mistake too large for You to forgive. Please help me to be a person of integrity who strives to walk in righteousness and be more like Jesus daily. Help me to make choices that bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.