a person, typically a child, in ragged, dirty clothes
Aren’t we ever ragged? Prodigal sons whose very birth was a mess only to be followed by mess after mess and mistake after mistake.
It is tempting to assume that since society “loves us” that we are above average, maybe even exceptional. What if we always pay our bills on time? What if we earn tons of money and regularly donate to charity? No matter how upstanding a citizen we are, we are lacking. In fact, the more upstanding we are perhaps the more lacking as well.
Matthew 23:23 says: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Dill and cumin huh? Impressive? In that society it was. Everyone could see them doing what society admired. Today Jesus may have said something more like this: “Woe to you, progressives and liberals, you hypocrites! You have a pink ribbon bumper sticker and donate to Hillary’s campaign. But you have neglected the real matters that please me–justice, mercy (especially to babies) and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, and not invented the former.”
Society’s standards are subjective morality. They are humanistic inventions that change with the times. Pink ribbons represent “a cure for cancer” that has yet to be discovered. Ironic isn’t it? That society is looking for healing and celebrates the fact that they haven’t found it? Isn’t it incredible these days that for a large portion of society if you do not agree that a woman should be allowed to murder her own child then you are a “bad person”? Let’s face it, even being a foster parent doesn’t have much to do with “widows & orphans” or even Jesus for that matter. Instead, it’s more about allowing oneself to be a tool for “society” (code for a few elites who think they know what’s best for everyone else).
If you aren’t convinced yet that society’s standards are corrupt, then just consider recent actions that our “omniscient” government has undertaken in the last month:
1. Determined that no crime is committed when the IRS director directs the IRS to antagonize and criminally pursue any organization that she is ideologically opposed to.
2. US aircraft bomb Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.
3. Sign an illegal agreement with Iran to allow them to again be enriched by international trade despite their leadership proclaiming: “Death to America.”
I could keep going, but you get the point. Society’s idea of “morality” is not moral at all. Instead it is selfish “thank you for loving me and always making me feel good about myself” stuff. Absolutely secular humanism. Love is NOT about making me feel good about the things I do that harm myself and others. Yet to society it is.
Therefore, I again contend that we are ALL raggamuffins. Especially those of us that don’t feel like raggamuffins.
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
Until we understand this we cannot ever approach God in a way that we’ll be able to hear Him. Even once redeemed, even as beloved children, we still must always recognize grace. Without that our egos are not kept in check and pride makes us deaf to the Holy Spirit.
Our realization that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” makes us raggamuffins. We are simply not good nor capable – apart from God – of any good. I’m not saying that we should be timid about truth. Abortion is murder. Homosexuality is sin. Nothing about grace should ever water down truth. In fact, our recognition of our own shortcomings is more truth.
What is happening in society is that truth is becoming unpopular. Not only does society prefer to “feel good about myself” but society is at war with truth. It won’t even want you to look in the mirror and see the raggamuffin. Instead society will flatter you and tell you how “important” you are, how “valuable” you are and so long as you deny truth and believe their flattery they’ll treat you that way too. They’ll feel terrible and may even call in an intervention if you dare to accept Isaiah 64:6 or the Gospel of Christ as truth. They’ll do it out of their version of “love” which again really amounts to selfish flattery.
Don’t buy the lie, even if it comes from the pulpit at a church somewhere. All of those selfish things we do daily. Those lies we tell, those sinful thoughts. They are evil. That evil still sways us and because of that we are unworthy of our status of “child of God”. We are unworthy, we are unholy. Christ is worthy, Christ is Holy. When we boast let it be in Christ alone. Only then will we completely rid ourselves of the idolatry of social morality. Only then will we be salt and light in this dark and bland world.
God bless you Raggamuffin!