Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 2:1-4 (NLT)
You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Reflection: Romans 2:1-4
Paul uncovers in these verses a strange human foible, namely our tendency to be critical of everybody except ourselves…. We work ourselves up into a state of self-righteous indignation over the disgraceful behavior of other people, while the very same behavior seems not nearly so serious when it is ours rather than theirs. We even gain a vicarious satisfaction from condemning in others the various faults we excuse in others. Freud called this moral gymnastic ‘projection’, but Paul described it centuries before Freud. Similarly, Thomas Hobbes, the seventeenth-century political philosopher, wrote of people who ‘are forced to keep themselves in their own favor by observing the imperfections of other men’. This device enables us to simultaneously retain our own sins and our self-respect. It is a convenient arrangement, but also both slick and sick.
…This is not a call either to suspend our critical faculties or to renounce all criticism and rebuke of others as illegitimate; it is rather a prohibition of standing in judgement on other people and condemning them (which as humans we have no right to do), especially when we fail to condemn ourselves. For this is the hypocrisy of the double standard, a high standard for other people and a comfortably low one for ourselves.
…[However] God’s kindness leads us towards repentance. That is it’s goal. It is intended to give us space in which to repent, not to give us an excuse for sinning.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen