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Posts Tagged ‘#nooneisrighteous’

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 6.49.14 AMI was recently confronted with reminders of sins of the past. Sins that had hurt, sins that had ripple-like effects to far more than ever imagined at the time. That reminder took me back to a very dark time … a time when hope was shadowed by the blackness of sin.

There is a saying that has permeated my days since that reminder of sin:

A single lie discovered
is enough to create doubt in every truth expressed.

And so, in a moment I was thrust backward, from the present to the past, from freedom to slavery, from a life of truth back to deception. And heaviness  was on my spirit.

And then I was reminded of stones.

Stones are a prop for numerous stories in the Bible. There is one such story when Jesus himself used stones as a mirror, a reflector.

The story is told in John (8:3-11):

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

-Jesus had people gathered around him in the temple courts … it was he who the people wanted to hear (not the teachers of the law of the Pharisees). He was leading the people in a way that was through truth, relationship … they were leading from a place of position, education and wealth.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

-I so wish that the Bible gave account of what he had written! Some say it was the names of the accusers who had also taken prostitutes, or perhaps something from the Law. Whatever it was, combined with his direction that if they were sinless, be the first to throw a stone at her, they fled.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 “No one, sir,” she said.

But Jesus didn’t stop at responding to the question about the Law, he also looked at the woman, left behind by her accusers, and asked a most redundant question … “where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

And so he gives her freedom (I don’t condemn you), and advice that is always pertinent after a sin has been discovered … leave your life of sin. Because “sorry is not enough, sometimes you actually have to change” (unknown).

We can all be like the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, reminding people of their sin, shaming others who have done wrong. I certainly have sat in the seat of the judgement of others … and I have great callouses on my back end for sitting in such a seat of arrogance. I have callouses on my hands for holding the stones so tightly.

But, Paul reminds us in Romans (3:23)

“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

His words are like a thorn in our side … or they should be! He reminds us that we judge, not as Christ judges, for we judge the sins of others while bathing in our own.

Paul previously reminds us, earlier in that passage (Romans 3:10) that,

“there is no one righteous, not even one”

Sin is the burden of our human condition. It is indiscriminate of who it will afflict, for it afflicts us all.

There is no one who can erase their own sin, there is no person who can eliminate the sin of another … except Christ.

The Matthew Henry Commentary says of this passage, and of God’s view of sin:

“It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction.”

And, in the words of the hymn, Jesus Paid it All, all to HIM I owe.

 

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I admit, I am a bit (understatement) of a cynic when it comes to politicians, activists, and celebrities. So, for me, the news and social media have been a satirical gag-fest lately.

Whenever I hear any of the aforementioned groups share their message, I methodically pick apart every word. I do not have it within me to believe that those groups speak truth, or that they care or understand what I need or want.

I chalk my cynicism up to having frequently seen, heard and experienced the curse of money, stardom and power.

A few days ago I had reached the tipping point, after reading headlines of articles about the three groups I am cynical towards, and a phrase burst aloud from my lips:

“There is no one righteous, not even one …”

The words of the apostle, Paul (Romans 3:10), make me think that Paul may very well have been a kindred spirit.

Paul went on (Romans 3:11-18) to describe the depravity of all humankind:

“there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
 ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

I am very cognizant of the fact that I am jaded in my thoughts about people in the positions or groups mentioned, and that my negativity can keep me from remembering that those represented are worthy of and need my/our prayers.

Yet, to think that a politician, a celebrity or a march will make or break a nation, a generation or a movement is to put power in the hands of the wrong saviour.

” we know that there is only one God, the Father,
who created everything, and we live for him.
And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom
God made everything and through whom we have been given life.”
1 Corinthians 8:6

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Before you read too far into this post, I have a disclaimer:

I have been ever so guilty of what You are about to read. In no way do I think I am Teflon, and this problem doesn’t touch my life (or my eye). So please read this knowing that I am humbly aware that I, too, am guilty. 

 

Something that the recent American presidential race has reminded me is that we are very quick to point out flaws in others. Perhaps it is because the candidates themselves did a significant amount of finger pointing, or perhaps it is because it is simply human nature to see, and draw attention to the negatives actions and words of others.

We are all guilty of doing this, in big or less obvious ways.

There are the couch potato sports fans, who argue and complain with the decisions of the refs.

The women sitting at a coffee shop, analyzing another customer in the shop.

The employees rolling their eyes at the new corporate initiative, coming down from on high … the employers rolling their eyes at the lack of buy-in from their employees.

The teens complaining to their peers about their parents … the parents complaining to their peers about their teens.

The Facebook status that complains about corporations destroying the Earth, followed by one of the same person showing her hot beverage in the new ‘seasonal’, and disposable coffee cup.

WE ARE ALL GUILTY!

“As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one”
Romans 3:10

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
Romans 3:23

“And why do you look at the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but not notice the beam in your own eye?”

Matthew 7:3

I am finding myself, lately, to have words barely off my tongue and I can visualize a beam coming out of my eye, all the while prepping for surgery with tweezers to remove the splinter from the eye of another.

Maybe others are feeling the same.

Maybe that’s not such a bad feeling.

I bet that if we became more aware of our own faults we could do more to change the world than any president or prime minister, the world over.

 

 

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