Throwing stones - Hope 103.2

Throwing stones

By David ReayWednesday 5 Nov 2014LifeWords DevotionalsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Romans 2:17-24

17-24 If you’re brought up Jewish,don’t assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy,feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation,a connoisseur of the best things of God,informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and,because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out,feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others,who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture,”It’s because of you Jews that the outsiders are down on God,” shows it’s an old problem that isn’t going to go away. (THE MESSAGE)

It is so very easy to develop the knack of spotting sin in the lives of others. So very easy to pounce on those whose sins are public and whose behaviour especially scandalises us. So very easy,therefore,to clothe ourselves in moral superiority. We are all too ready to throw stones at those sinners we particularly dislike and perhaps reluctant to speak out against the more subtle or even ‘respectable’ sins. Like the ones we ourselves commit!

We can,rightly,deplore marital unfaithfulness. And yet we may be unfaithful in our own more devious ways,avoiding sexual misconduct while our marriages are marked by cold indifference. We can,rightly,denounce those who unfairly claim government handouts while we gladly exploit all the loopholes we can to maximise our own comforts.

Such hypocrisy has a long history. Paul rebukes his Jewish readers who reckoned their ethnic pedigree gave them some moral superiority. This led to their witness to the character of God being fatally compromised. It is not as if sin in itself disqualifies them or us from being witnesses. It is that a lack of self-awareness blinds us to our faults and has us magnify the faults of others.

As soon as we start making a big noise about the sinfulness of certain others,we are in danger. We may certainly speak against sin,but we need to make sure we do it thoroughly. Or to paraphrase the old saying,as we go to pick up the stone to throw,remember the glass houses we live in.

David Reay