I think I am right, but I could be wrong.
Recently President Trump made remarks following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia that sent both Christian and non-Christian heads reeling. The dark events of Saturday 12th August 2017, included clashes between white supremacist groups and counter protesters, including Antifa, in Charlottesville, which left one dead and 19 others injured when a car rammed into the crowd.
In his first statement, the president condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Although the President also condemned all hate groups most labelled him “racist” and would not accept his remarks as satisfactory. Among those that thought the President’s stand was not up to the mark or fitting included leaders of churches and even members of President Trump’s faith advisory board according to this Christian Post article.
Was there something outrageous about the President asking both sides to check themselves? Can we not agree that all hate is hate. Have we come to a place where the facts are only accepted if/when they are not offensive? While race issues cut deep, I believe it is within individual self-reflection that the nation will find healing.
This made me think about Paul’s text in Romans 3:23,
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Paul addresses both sides in Romans Chapters 1-3. The ones that have clearly sinned by going against the law of God and the ones that believe they hold the moral high ground and are in position to judge others. His message is that we have all sinned and need the loving kindness of our saviour Lord Jesus to rescue us from a life of sin and judgement. Are we still willing to accept this truth today? Are we able to pause and just ponder the fact that although we think we are right, we could be wrong and that we all need to return to a place of the true love of Jesus. Can we pause and say; "I think I am right, but I could be wrong"?
Let's take a look at the two sides Paul writes about in Romans 1-3
SIDE A : Romans 1:18-32
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them, For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
SIDE B : Romans 2: 1-6
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism.
All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them. This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
No one is righteous Romans 3:9-18
As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; 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.”
Let us all take a moment to ponder. Are we living right according to the word of God? Have we accepted the truth of the gospel and Jesus as our saviour.
Dear Lord, return us to the center of love. We humble ourselves before you with repentant hearts. Forgive us for we have lived according to our ways and judged according to our own standards. We invite Jesus to come into our hearts and help us to live according to your word as we wait for the coming of our Lord and saviour. Amen.