Scripture: Psalm 28
It's good to read the entire Psalm for context, but did verse 3 jump out at you the way it did at me? "Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts." The first half sets up for some pretty grizzled and horrendous characters; the last part flashes a mirror at me. Me? Wicked and evil? Because I subscribe occasionally to some sweet Southern gentility and play nice with those around me while sometimes, maybe, wishing they would "get what they deserve!"
Yup. That smacked me. It seems more often those who decide against pursuing a spiritual journey do so mainly because they believe a few things: they either end up nonexistent when they die or in heaven; heaven is for decent people who are not as bad as (insert evil dictator name here) so that gives them an obvious "in"; and, hell is a swear word.
I believe we've started to set our bars too high (not that I'd ever think I'd say that about a dictator!) - David doesn't suggest that the wicked and evil ones are those who are brutal, inhumane, barbaric, murderous, and self-interested. He suggests that something as simple as saying something that is dishonest coming from your lips or wishing something harmful on another person is: Wicked. And, Evil.
Wow. Now, I realize the Psalms are meant to be read as poetry and that many of the devices used to make a point are not meant to be taken literally, but as an overall society and in my own mind, we often picture ourselves as bastions of virtue and well-doing because we only compare ourselves to people more smutty than we are - on the outside. The Bible is pretty clear that we look at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Guess I better be more vigilant about my inside cleaning. And, a bit more honest about who I should be striving to model my life after: Perfect, holy, good, love.