1 Samuel 12:1-25

Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these, I will make it right.

1 Samuel 12:3

The prophet Samuel had grown under the guidance of the priests of Israel. It was to be his destiny to be God's mouthpiece to the people of Israel. He guided a nation in morality, ethics, and even seemingly trivial matters. Once he was even consulted by Saul, future king of Israel, about the location of some lost donkeys, and as it appears in these passages, he did not once take selfish advantage of any situation entrusted to him.

Integrity mattered to this great man of God and it was confirmed by his people in verses four and five of the same chapter and proven again at the end of the chapter. Even though this man strives with a people who continually turn their back on God, he does not use his platform to belittle those in his care or to highlight his “goodness.” Instead he reaffirms his commitment to serve them by teaching and praying for them even in his old age, and implores them to turn their wandering hearts back to God.

These are bold words for the prophet Samuel to make. Could I get to the end of my life and make equivalent statements? Would there be one in the crowd that would call out my sin before everyone or would I be found without fault in the eyes of men?

On the opposite side, how I cringe to think of the times I have felt myself virtuous, and instead of feeling compassion for another lost in the confusion and turmoil of life, have condemned them without even so much as a prayer to heaven. How would anybody ever find their way out of the trap of sin and disappointment if not for someone who leaves their self-righteous attitude to regard the poor, sick, addicted, and down trodden with compassion and love.

In God's eyes I know I would be found guilty on both accounts in the absence of His grace. I pray for the humility to swallow my pride and selfishness and the strength of character to make right the wrongs I have done to another. May God keep me from my own self-righteousness and instead make my instant reaction to be mercy.