"An After-hours Invitation" ~~ Kenneth L. Samuel
Hear a just cause, O Lord: attend to my cry; give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit...If you try my heart, if you visit me by night, if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me. Psalm 17:1, 3
According to Ephesians 2:8, we are saved by grace, through faith, so we have nothing to boast of, regarding our own self-righteousness. But an exclusive emphasis on God's grace and mercy can sometimes give license for lack of integrity and moral accountability.
It is said that integrity is who you are when no one is looking at you. Integrity is who we are in the dark. It is our "after-hours" character. it is the values we live out through the night. The mercy and the grace of God should never allow us to renege on our responsibility for personal integrity..
There is something ethically reckless about crying out to god fr justice while we compromise our moral values and live our lives immoral duplicity. The psalmist was not morally perfect, but he was also not morally irresponsible. he invites God to test the integrity in his heart by investigating his life after hours to see if his daytime persona was consistent with his nighttime behavior. This is not bout being boastful; it is about being consistently faithful.
Public please for justice and righteousness are one thing, but hoe much scrutiny can our personal lives really stand? What inconsistencies in our own character do we continue to pamper and propagate? Aside from the religion that we practice in public, can anyone tell who we really are in private?
Mahatma Gandi admonished us, "Be the change you want to see in the world." That change begins with our own commitment to practice what we preach -- even after hours.
PRAYER: Dear God, please place us on the path toward greater honesty and integrity in our public and in our personal lives. Guide us in truth and sincerity as we commit ourselves to becoming all that we know we should be. Amen.
God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 3.