“Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
By saying that “all have sinned,” St. Paul is not saying we should glory in our sinfulness. His point of emphasis is that we must avoid boasting, we must avoid feeling superior to others, we must avoid looking down on others. “Are we any better off?” St. Paul asks, “No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin.” (Romans 3:9).
If I am able to keep God’s commandments or overcome temptations, I must learn to give thanks to God because left to my own power, I can do nothing. As Jesus would say: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). All this boils down to the fact that we must avoid passing judgment on others while boasting about our own goodness.
Nevertheless, it is a different thing altogether when we correct others in love. This is what we see in today’s Gospel passage. Note that Jesus is telling them these things to their face. Correcting others requires courage. If you cannot tell someone her/his errors to their face, then avoid passing judgment behind their backs.
Luke tells us that “the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak of many things, lying in wait for him, to catch at something he might say.” People do not like to be corrected. Rather than listening, they find ways to attack the person who corrects them. The best correction they say is “doing the right thing which you desire to see others do.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, fill me with your Grace every day. Amen.
Bible Study: Romans 3:21-30, Ps. 130:1-6, Luke 11:47-54)