Friday, April 19, 2013

Bible Friday: Romans 3:23-24

I think we've all had that time in our life when we feel like someone has done us wrong.  For people my age (teenagers, college students, etc.) it's usually a "friend" or boy that has hurt our feelings.  Maybe they said something insensitive (Boyfriend: "Becky's hot." Girlfriend: "Excuse me?! My name is NOT Becky.") or did something behind your back (Best friend to other friend, whispering: "Did you see how dumb that necklace looked on Katie?  *louder* OH HI KATIE I DIDN'T SEE YA WALK UP THERE NICE NECKLACE.")  People can really get on our nerves, and make us lose heart in the human race.
  But while we're pointing out someone else's shortcomings, it might be helpful to remember the things  you yourself have done at one time or another.  As Romans 3:23 puts it: "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  That's the NKJV version, which I like best.  Other version says "come short of the glory of God," but "fall short" implies that we are sinning all the time - and we certainly are.  The New Living Translation says that "we all fall short of God’s glorious standard."  What is God's glorious standard?  Perfection.  And no human being (no, not even you) can be perfect.  That's why we needed Jesus - to free us from our inevitable sin.
  You may feel like something that someone else did is way worse than anything you have done, but is it?  Is it really?  Doesn't God count all sins the same?  James 2:10 says "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all."  And everyone's favorite bible verse when THEY are being persecuted can also be thrown back at them from time to time: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7: 1 - 5 NKJV).  
  The point is that we need to be really careful how we treat others who have hurt our feelings.  It doesn't mean that they should get away with it - in fact, Jesus tells us exactly how to deal with this situation. 15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’[a] 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:15 - 17) So sometimes even when you forgive, it doesn't mean you have to let this person be around you and get away with everything that they say/do.  It does mean though that you need to try to work it out with them. 
  You need to be humble and remember that Jesus is the only one who saved us.  We can't do it on our own, we're always going to sin and "fall short of the glory of God" - and that goes for everybody.

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