Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

We Are All Sinners

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

RayMcDI’m getting burned out with this election stuff. Some thought things would settle down after the election – whether Clinton or Trump got elected. Clearly some of those who voted for Clinton are appalled that Trump won. I imagine some who voted for Trump would have been appalled if Clinton won. There are strong reasons to have concerns for a Trump presidency – as there would have been strong reasons to have concerns over a Clinton presidency. I have long said that I didn’t support either candidate – both had major flaws IMHO.

The bottom line – president elect Donald J. Trump has been duly elected as our 45th President. The task – as I see it – is to pray for him and those he surrounds himself with that they will lead our country well. Having said that – and I would have said the same thing had Hillary R. Clinton won – we – the citizens of America – need to watch and sound off when we believe any of our leaders are leading us in a destructive way. We need to peaceably protest and have our vote ready to correct anything we believe is wrong with those we have elected.

I clearly rebuke hate groups who may support any candidate. I will stand up to support anyone against hate talk and abuse. At times this will be very clear and we can all stand opposed to it. At times it may not be as clear and we may need it pointed out or to agree to disagree.

One of the clear truths found in the New Testament in Jesus’ teachings and the teachings of His disciples is that we are all sinners. This truth helps to keep me from being judgmental (it doesn’t always work but I want it to). Paul wrote – Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He also wrote – 1 Timothy 1:15 – Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Since we have all sinned and even the best among us should consider ourselves the worst of sinners – I would suggest that we focus more on grace than judgment. I would suggest that we not side up but rather offer grace to one another. For those who celebrate the victory – be gracious and sincere in listening to those who are devastated. For those who are in anguish at the defeat – please do not put all who voted differently than you into some lump sum.

I pledge to be a safe person and to help the church I serve to be a safe place. I wrestled with and prayed about my vote and I believe other Christians and other Americans did as well. I will not only support their right to vote – as they felt led – but I will also support their right to complain (if they voted).

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. This passage – I believe – reminds us the heart we should have – it also reminds us that our vision should not be horizontal (looking around us) but rather vertical (looking to God). Luke 18:9–14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Let us humble ourselves and pray for our newly elected president. Let us hold all of our leaders accountable to godly principles – in the country and in the church. Let us realize we may not always agree on the issues – but let us all remember that we are all sinners and should not judge one another. Let us keep our eyes vertically focused on God and not horizontal – focused on others.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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November 15, 2016 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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