But Wishing to Justify…

Luke 10:29 (NASB)
29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus…

Those words arrest me every time I read them. I wonder how much of what I do, say, and think is at least partially motivated by a desire to justify myself.

Sometimes I want to justify my existence. Instead of anchoring my value to my relationship with God, I attempt to define my worth by comparing myself with others. In one way or another I try to convince myself and everyone else that I measure up—that I am productive, intelligent, useful, acceptable, worthwhile.

Sometimes  I want to justify my actions. My conscience tells me something’s a bit off, but I don’t want to admit it, or I don’t want to repent of it. Instead, I rehearse to myself all the reasons why my choices really are valid, understandable, or unavoidable.

Sometimes I justify in order to defend. The attack may be real or imagined, but I craft my conversations to prove that I am not this way, don’t do this thing, don’t think these thoughts, don’t fit into that category, don’t fall into this error. Or sometimes to prove that I am this way, do this thing…

I’m not saying there’s never an appropriate time to defend against a false accusation, but that’s pretty rare. I don’t have many enemies.

Just like with the lawyer in Luke 10, Jesus sees right through it all…and probably so do a lot of people. It’s a waste of energy—energy that could be better spent noticing somebody else.





2 thoughts on “But Wishing to Justify…”

  1. When it comes to justification I think I’ve spent more time trying to justify myself to God than anyone else. Over time I have come to learn that obedience is greater than sacrifice. I came across this realization a couple years ago while studying 1Samuel. In 1Samuel 15:22,23- Samuel rebukes Saul because the people took the spoil of the Amalekites:

    1 Samuel 15:22,23

    22 But Samuel replied: Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
    23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.

    Great Post! Blessings to you and yours…

    1. Mark –
      That is a good passage to come back to again and again. Thanks for sharing.

      And thanks for stopping by the blog and taking the time to say hi! I checked out your site – a husband wife blog – I love it! And I enjoy the honesty and humor with which you both write. I’ve no doubt people are blessed as you share your journey.

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