Sermons

Summary: It is a dangerous illusion to excuse our selves by claiming that we are no worse than anyone else. We find faults in people who look too perfect or who don’t give us what we want when we want it. But help comes from Jesus, who IS better than we are.

When you get caught in some sort of blunder, how do you get out of it? How do you take care of your guilt when you are weighed in the balances and found wanting?

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that you’ve shaded the truth. I will not suggest that you have lied; you have shaded the truth. You have exaggerated. Doesn’t that feel better? You have not lied, you put a spin on the truth. But they found you out. Somebody who knew more facts than you thought they did called you on your little trick. How did you deal with that? What explanations did you offer?

Here’s one I read in the newspapers this week. “Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all made mistakes. But I’m no monster.” That was a church leader in response to charges that he had embezzled thousands of dollars to support some very unsavory stuff. What was the answer? “Nobody’s perfect. We’ve all made mistakes.” What do you think of that? Have you ever used it? “I’m no better than we all are.” I may be bad, but you are just as bad. I may be a crook, but so is everybody else. Faultfinding, in order to show that your own faults are not any worse than theirs.

Am I a liar? Am I a cheat? Aren’t we all thieves? Then because I have found this fault in you, that means I don’t have to deal with my own, right? Because they are no better than we are, we have no real problems, right? Right?!

Wrong. Wrong. Because the issue is not how we measure up against one another. The issue is how we measure against God’s expectations. The issue is not whether we are no better than anyone else. The issue is how we test against what God wants from us. The measure is not how you stack up or how I do what I do; the measure is nothing less than the stature of the fullness of Christ. Not whether somebody else is no better than we are.

I’m announcing a new club today. It’s for chronic faultfinders. Along the lines of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymouse, it’s time to stand up and say, “My name is Smith, and I’m a faultfinder. I’m a faultfinder because I keep on thinking that you are no better than I and I am no better than you.” And that’s a dangerous illusion. We need to sign up for Faultfinders Anonymous.

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Some of us find fault with others because we think they set themselves up so high and mighty and righteous. We love finding faults in those who have told us that they are beyond reproach. Something in us loves to find flaws in people who look too perfect.

Job’s first friend, Eliphaz, found fault with Job because to him it looked as though Job thought himself better than the rest of us. Eliphaz felt that Job had that air of superiority, just a little more spiritual, a little more righteous, a shade more correct, than ordinary mortals. To Eliphaz, Job had just always looked a little too good to be true. And now that Job was having problems, now that Job had lost all the props that made him look so good, Eliphaz gloated a little. Eliphaz enjoyed Job’s plight. You are just getting what you deserve, Job! Eliphaz found fault with Job; Job, you are no better than we are. You are getting what you deserve at last.

“See, you have instructed many, you have strengthened the weak hands. Your words supported those who were stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees. But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed.”

Job, you were all right as long as you were playing Lady Charity, helping other people. As long as it was other people who hurt, Job, you could be understanding and compassionate and helpful. You enjoyed having it all together and doing things for others, the poor slobs. But now the troubles have come on you, Job, and you can’t take it. You aren’t man enough to deal with it. The things you’ve given other people you don’t really have in yourself, Job. You are no better than we are.

Faulfinders find fault with people who have been succesful and whose lives look together. They find fault because out of their own insecurities they need to believe that others are no bwetter than they are. There are some folks who lead charmed lives. The rest of us can be down and out, and they will mysteriously have enough to eat, clothes to wear, the rent bill paid, and they want to know if you are going to Cancun this year or whether you like the latest fashions at Saks. When you hear all that, you get jealous. Here I am, sweating and straining just to get by, and this guy seems to have everything.

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