The first stop in my evaluation of relationship and circumstance has to be me. As I’m considering the justice and righteousness of whatever I am dealing with, I first have to consider the grace within me for others. The grace within me is a reflection of the health and maturity within me.
There are things that we will all find ourselves experiencing which just aren’t right. We can support our perspective of them not being right and be accurate in that same assessment. That may be where we eventually land, but it can’t be where we begin from. We have to begin with us.
John challenged others to change their minds. He called them to repent and prepare themselves to recognize the coming Kingdom. The Kingdom was being ushered in by Jesus but recognition of the Kingdom required reflection internally first. If they wouldn’t consider themselves, they couldn’t consider the Kingdom accurately.
Jesus says in the passage below that the ones that were able to hear John (and, therefore, hear Jesus) were the ones that didn’t deny their own sin (tax collectors and prostitutes). The advantage to their disadvantage was the certainty of their condition. It was the religious rule keepers that were so justified in their own mind that they couldn’t consider the grace which was to be offered.
Matthew 21: 31-32, ““Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”
We will all find ourselves in difficult situations. Those situations can absolutely be used by God to call us to reflect on the stuff within us that He wants to redeem. The challenge of injustice will call out our need for grace.
Grace to be applied to others first must be realized for ourselves. We won’t realize it for us if we are too focused on them. If we don’t receive grace, we won’t have grace to give. We won’t receive it if we can’t acknowledge that we need it by recognizing the depravity of our own condition. That realization is a gift that was granted the prostitutes that heard John but applies just as much today in the areas in which we have sold ourselves.