The church was spiraling downhill. It was agonizing to watch at business meetings. People would come reliably every Sunday but there were other people that they hadn’t spoken to in 20 years also attending faithfully. There was a lady who had served as senior minister and started some healing, but they would not hire her as Senior pastor because a Godly church can’t have a woman pastor. They kept nominating men who did not have a clue as to how to walk with God. The man they hired, they had to fire, but he refused to leave and even came with bodyguards so he could keep preaching. These people could pray the most elegant prayers, and were concerned for the unsaved and tried to reach them. They could not understand why new believers would attend one screaming match called a business meeting and never come back. I felt it would soon be like the ruined church I am standing in front of.
As I read Romans 2, I was reminded of them and of other churches. At some, I’ve seen the senior pastor drive away anyone who disagreed in the slightest. It reminded me of a class I took. The teacher taught for several days on granting worth and honor to others. Then we played a role game called Bomb Shelter. We were forced to make a decision in a short time, then another and another. The pressure mounted. Typically, decision making became more important than interpersonal relationships. A power struggle ensued. Slowly people dropped out till one person made all the decisions. These situations remind me of Ezekiel 33:32 which I paraphrase as “You are like one who sings love song and then go home and beat you wife when you read my word and don’t do what I say.”
Romans Chapter 2 reminds me forcefully of these things. After Romans one, we feel so good looking down on these awful people, and we as a church act holier than thou, while sinning mightily like the above examples. Oh how we love to make ourselves look better. We will quote Romans one to justify condemning homosexuals, but refuse to look at Romans two to realize that we are worse, “the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you.” Remember Matt 18:24-35 It is not the homosexual that is thrown to the torturers, but us who have been forgiven the great debt and won’t do the same to others.
Don’t think that I think I am any better. For years I have condemned these bickering church people. Recently, I was listening to a grown child. I heard how I was too controlling, too know it all. I was totally taken aback when I realized that I was failing Romans two when I was condemning those other unspiritual church people. Notice though, I don’t go, “woe is me.” I take my failings to God and seek healing from Him. He will root this out, as He has so many other things. He is also a loving God and will only bring a manageable load to our mind at one time, so we can walk from victory to victory, and grow in the ability to reckon others as better than ourselves, to see their beauty.
I have posted a study of Romans 1 on my study page, and will soon post a study of Romans 2.