13th October 2021
DON’T JUDGE OTHERS BECAUSE THEY SIN DIFFERENTLY
Romans 2: 1‐11
Psalm 62: 2‐3, 6‐7, 9
Luke 11: 42‐46
If you ever heard that when you “point out” someone else as a doer of evil, you use one finger to point to the other person, but three fingers are pointing back to you?
In today’s First Reading, St. Paul is addressing the Jewish members of the Christian community at Rome. They seem to be acting with an attitude of superiority over the Gentiles who have become believers.
The Judaic Christians find it easy to cast blame and accusations at the former heathens, pointing out all their actions which are contradictory to being a faithful believer. Paul warns the Hebrew Christians that they, too, are sinful and have been unfaithful to God in their lives. If they condemn the former pagans for their sins of infidelity, they will also be judged for being unfaithful to God. The sinful and unrepenting Jews will be the first to be condemned because they had the advantage of knowing God long before the pagans. Yet, the humble and contrite Jews who have come to believe in Jesus will receive God’s blessings first, since they have had a connection with God for a longer period of time. Yet, in the end there is no difference with God since God loves and saves all people through Jesus and all will enjoy life for all eternity if they are faithful to God.
Jesus, in the Gospel, continues His warning of the leaders of the Jewish faith. Many of these so‐called leaders are more concerned about how they look in people’s eyes than about their relationship with God. They want to be held in high esteem, but are not willing to help those whom they have been called to serve. The “scholars of the law” are also chastised for their burdening the people with impossible tasks of keeping the laws. They impose the load without doing anything to lighten it for those who struggling with adherence to the law.
As I reflect on the readings, I realize that we have been too legalistic at times. We have been so strict for adherence to the rules and regulations, especially for others. We remember times when others would say to us, “Get a life, instead of trying to impose a life‐sentence on us.” We recall times when we would try to do everything by the book. We thought that if we did that then we would “earn” our way to heaven. We also tried to force others to adhere to our interpretation of the rules. We became uptight, tense, and unbearable. We made it hard for people to relate to us other than with fear. It is so easy to condemn others whom we consider to be doing wrong. There are two problems with such a “superior” attitude.
1. We tend to forget our own sinfulness and wrong doings. 2. We equate the person with their actions.
We must look to the Master‐Teacher Who was able to see each person as loved by His Father in spite of their sinfulness. Yes, Jesus condemned sin and wrong doing, but was always willing to love and forgive the repentant sinner.
As we have grown in our relationship with the Lord Jesus, we have come to appreciate how loving, understanding, and forgiving God is. We realize that we do not deserve the gifts and blessing God has bestowed on us. We have been as unfaithful, if not more unfaithful, than others. We have had the benefit of being given the gift of faith from my childhood. We should have known better and acted gratefully and gracefully in response to the Lord Jesus’ graciousness.
With this renewed sense of God’s loving kindness, we have learned to be more understanding and forgiving of others. We need to be consoling and comforting to those who are struggling to get their lives together in God’s sight. Offering words of solace and affirmation, rather words of condemnation, can enable others to accept the forgiveness which God offers. It is with such a positive and edifying attitude that we can show our relationship with God and our acceptance of others and pray with the psalmist today, “Trust in God at all times, O my people! Pour out your hearts before the Lord; God is our refuge!”