Summary: This sermon is about our temptation to judge others.
“When It Comes To Matters Of The Heart, There Are No Excuses”
-by Reverend A. LaMar Torrence
Text: Romans 2:1-29
As we continue our traverse through the chapters of Romans, we are learning that regardless of who we are, we are in God’s sight. In fact one could say that in the first chapter of this book, we learned the answer to the first question God asked man when our lord came into the Garden of Eden: “Where are You?” and not only are we learning where we are, but also why we are where we are! We are learning what makes us act the way we do, and think the way we do. Paul puts it in these terms, “men suppress the truth” That is human beings goes through a process of denial. We hear the truth about ourselves; yet, we repress it.
We are a people who like to make excuses for plight. Nothing is ever really our fault. Think about it, historically, we have always blamed others for our own decisions. Adam blamed Eve for enticing him to take of the forbidden fruit. Eve blamed the serpent. And we are still playing the blame-game. We are dysfunctional because of generational curses passed onto us. The prisoner now blames his parents for his illegal activity. Divorcees blame each other for the demise of marriages. Our children’s yearning for materialism is blamed on television. We blame school violence on the lack of prayer in school. Sex and Drug use among our youth is blamed on the Internet, television, and Hollywood. Sinful behavior is now being referred to as compulsive behavior and chemical imbalances. Whenever we do something wrong we are apt to point the finger elsewhere. Fingers are being point to the increasing Hispanic population for higher rates of unemployment. Declining neighborhood property values are being blamed on the increasing number of minorities. The democrats blamed the republicans for increase in taxes. The republicans blamed the democrats for the country’s deficit. We are a people who like to point the fingers at others for the problems we have to deep with.
We are a people of excuses. In an article published in a magazine called American Demographics, it was pointed out that tardy Americans love a good excuse. Corporate America is witnessing the creativity of workers in making up excuses for their lateness. In a survey done by Accountemps, some of the favorite excuses used by employees included, “My best friend stole my car.” “The wind was blowing against me.” “I backed through my garage door.” And “I was in the process of getting arrested.” The New York Transit Authority reported that up to 125 people each week request a written excuse explaining the late subways being the cause of their tardiness. We love to give an excuse.
Well, I have come to believe that much of the ineffectiveness of today’s church is derived our compulsive excuse making for not doing that which we are called to do. We have excuses for not giving our tithes, not using our talents, and not giving time to God. And yet, we who profess being saved knowing the truths of God have a tendency to judge the unsaved because what they do.
The unsaved may lie, steal, fornicate, murder, slander, and cussed. That’s okay they are suppose to. They party all Saturday night and sleep in on Sundays. That’s okay they are supposed to. The un-churched rarely open their bibles or perform any form of devotion. That’s okay they are supposed to. That’s why we called them the un-churched and the unsaved. I mean, I don’t expect them to get to church on time. I don’t expect to see the un-saved or the heathen to come out to bible study. I wouldn’t expect the un-church to give ten percent of their income and a sacrificial offering towards the Cool-Air Project. Why should they? After all, they are the unsaved, the un-churched, the world, and the heathen. They are supposed to be hell raisers because they are presumably going to hell. They should be living up to the expectations of performing shameless acts.
But what shocks me is that when I take that same standard of expectations and measure God’s church, the so-called saints, we tend to come up short. Literally, as Christians growing into the standards of God, we are dwarf in our efforts. No, wonder Paul states, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another, for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge are doing the very same thing.” The true of the matter is the saints are performing some the same shameless actions as the sinners in the world. We too have a tendency to be filled with all manners of wickedness. We have committed social acts of injustice, economic deeds of robbery, and spiritual acts of murder. You don’t have to be a Jeffrey Dahmer or a Ted Bundy to be a serial killer. The church is filled serial killers and criminals. Through our gossip and lies, we have murdered each other’s character and killed each other’s spirit. Every day our cruel tongues seek to steal somebody else’s joy with negative criticism and skepticism. Because we refuse to be cordial to strangers in our midst, souls that could be saved are killed because of our evil attitudes. We are murderers as well as thieves. Come on, we all know that verse: “Would a man rob God?” At Cross of Life Lutheran Church, he would. And he would catch an attitude if you caught in the act. With every dollar we hold back from the collection plate, we commit economic violence through our lack of support to organizations that feed those hunger, clothe those who are naked, or provide shelter to those without homes. Every time a newborn baby is cast into the garbage can, we participate in its death because we refuse to talk to our teens about sex. Every time a crack vial is sold or a person overdoses, we participate in that persons demise because we won’t tell our kids about the consequences of alcohol and drugs. We participate in the political rape of our country. We even assist in the police brutality we witness because we are too lazy to vote. When it comes to the church, we too are filled with all manners of wickedness and evil.