Our scripture this morning is Romans 2:18-23.
“You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth. Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.”
Paul pulls no punches in telling us that our knowledge of what God wants of us is not the same as doing what God wants of us. We are sadly capable of pointing out the faults of others while ignoring our own. Jesus cautioned us about this kind of behavior, saying “Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
We are called to a sincere and honest relationship with God. This means being aware and correcting our own behavior before we worry about that of others. While we are called to share the Good News and watch over our brothers and sisters in love, our lives must be right first.
We can make a difference in the world when people see that we strive for right because of our connection to God. While we are not perfect as Jesus is, we can repent of our sins, ask God’s forgiveness and earnestly work to do better. We must want to improve ourselves more than worrying about improving others.
Loving Lord, You have taught us what is right, but through our selfishness we have chosen wrongly. Help us to turn from evil and accept Your mercy. Amen.