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Reaching for righteousness

July 27, 2012
 |  by Krista

Reaching for righteousness

I’ve always disliked the word “righteous.” Perhaps because of the snobbish connotation of the term “self-righteous.” Maybe because I never really understood exactly how to apply it (it was too “holy” for me). Or it could be because I find it hard to type – I almost always spell it wrong.

Either way, when I saw the title crop up on the Kids of Integrity website last year, I had zero inclination to look at it. Everything else seemed much more relevant. But today as we were browsing for our next lesson, I decided to take just a little peek. And that’s when it hit me smack between the eyes. This difficult word that I thought would be so hard to explain to kids can possibly be boiled down to “making right choices.” I checked the memory verses to see if the substitution would work. “Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous . . . ” (“Surely, Lord, you bless those who make right choices . . . ”). Aha! THAT’S relevant!

Being a word-loving person, I immediately went to good ol’ Webster for his opinion. I read, “acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin.” We were on the right track. Discussions have already been had many times in our home about how sometimes our own sinfulness (or Satan) wants us to do things one way but God requests a different response. We have to choose. I had no idea we had already been teaching about righteousness!

Since we’re just sliding off the Attentiveness lesson, we chose a very cool memory verse that ties the two together: “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right. His ears are attentive to their cries” (Psalm 34:15). Ben looked at that and said, “Mom, that has nothing to do with righteousness.” (I’m going to get really good at typing that word by the end of this lesson!)

“Ben, what if a child of God who usually tries to make good choices found themselves in a difficult situation where they were very tempted to sin. If they cried out to God to help them do the right thing, do you think God would plug His ears and ignore them?”

“Never!” came the vehement reply.

“Doesn’t it feel good that when we try to do what the Bible tells us to, God is always watching and ready to encourage? And when we’re tempted to sin, we just have to ask for His strength to help us choose better?” And the connection was made.

This is going to be a challenging lesson maybe because my own theology on the subject isn’t crystal clear. Can righteousness really be distilled to making right choices, or is that too shallow? How do you link the fact that we cannot achieve righteousness on our own? Can kids grasp that we are only able to be righteous because of Christ’s work on the cross? I’m missing puzzle pieces again. I haven’t read through the full lesson yet, so I’m hoping there are answers. If you’ve already tackled this one, please let me know how it went!

Related Lesson: Righteousness