“I was continually reminded of Reinhold Niebuhr’s remark that religion is not the place where the problem of man’s egotism is automatically solved.
Rather, it is there that the ultimate battle between human pride and God’s grace takes place. Insofar as human pride may win that battle, religion can and does become one of the instruments of human sin.
But insofar as there the self does meet God and so can surrender to something beyond its own self-interest, religion may provide the one possibility for a much needed and very rare release from our common self-concern.” – Langdon Gilkey
The heart is so deceitful that (as with the Pharisees) it can turn any good thing sour. The Gospel, meant as emancipatory ‘Good News’, is reduced to a set of rules that are used to condemn those in need and to puff up those with abundance.
But if we hear the true Gospel – that Christ came to give us an unmerited gift that sets us free, free from our need for approval, for accomplishment, for power, for possessions, from the endless search for meaning and self-worth, then all things become mere things, as they should be, and He becomes our all, as He should be :–)