I heard a whisper this week. I'm reading Daniel (right in the middle of the end-of-the-year slog through the prophets) and was struck by how far I need to come to approach his level of righteousness. Daniel is in Babylon, and Darius is now king. He likes Daniel a lot and puts him in charge of significant things. The other leaders don't much care for this, so they try to find fault with Daniel. Chapter six (verses four and five) states that:
Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."
Ouch. Why? Because I instantly compare myself and my life to Daniel and know (not just wonder) that those words could not be said of me. Just today I was insensitive and somewhat rude to a co-worker. Many times a day I'm not as patient or kind to my students as I should be. If someone wanted to come and "find a complaint" against me, they would have ample examples.
Two opposite convictions come from these verses: First, I am reprimanded that I need to be conscious always of my speech and actions and not settle for letting my irritation and emotion rule my words and choices. Secondly, I am reminded, again, of my need for Jesus to save me from my sin. None of us, no matter the good deeds we have done, can ever save ourselves and make ourselves holy. Only Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and my reliance on it achieves that goal. I need to remember that I need the Gospel everyday, and I need to thank God for His grace in providing a way for me to know Him. Apparently the "whisper" was a little louder than I thought.