A Daily Dose of Good News
Monday, November 16, 2020
At 10:30 today, this devotional will be offered online at
A printer-friendly version of today’s devotion is available at DDGN 20201116
Good morning! It’s time for our Daily Dose of Good News. Today is November 16, 2020 and we’re in Romans 2:1-11.
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
Here ends the reading.
I wanted to follow up with this passage in connection with a point that I touched on in my sermon yesterday. For those of you who missed it, I’m sure there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (laughs). But don’t worry it’s online, you can just backtrack and watch it. I think one component that’s helpful to think about, I talked about in there, is how God doesn’t want us to compartmentalize, God wants us to bring God into all aspects of our being. I want to point out a few of those today and think about how this verse applies even further.
One area I talked about was bringing God into our politics. And one of the things that some of you may know about me, although I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in a sermon, but I certainly have mentioned it in conversations, is that I grew up going to a lot of different churches in my life. While I was initially raised in the Episcopal Church, I’ve worshipped in the Lutheran Church, I’ve been in the Methodist Church at times, my kids went to a Presbyterian preschool, my kids went to a Catholic school, I’ve been in non-denominational places and spaces- whether that was in Singapore or in the U.S. So, the advantage, I think to that, is I don’t think God shows any partiality. I think there are snippets of beautiful aspects of God in each of those denominations. Different denominations seem to have a very good grasp of different aspects of God. So I think every denomination has a chunk that they have, that they understand well about God. Now my own theology lines up best with ELCA- so that’s where I’m at! Right? But that doesn’t mean that the other denominations don’t have value or things we can learn from each other. One of the things that I think can happen sometimes, is we can judge each other and kind of poo-poo them, as if they have nothing to offer, or as if they have it wrong. Similarly, I think people can do that in their politics. Whichever side of the aisle people tend to be on- thinking of that as a spectrum, rather than as opposing, warring sides- let’s not be so polarized. Let’s think of it as: people are on a spectrum here, ok? In looking at where you tend to fall, it’s helpful to think of where other people view this- rather than judge them or poo-pooing it, or maybe they don’t have anything to offer, or your side knows best- again, that’s a polarized way of thinking. Instead, to be more open-minded and less judgmental and find where are the God aspects in both: where I tend to be on the spectrum; as well as where my friends tend to be, my neighbors, my loved ones, my relationships that I have with anyone- if those relationships are different politically than my own- where is God in that side, or in that component? Because I promise you, God’s there too. There is no political side that has the one and only take of God in it. Different political components, I believe, have different aspects that are truly God-oriented and Godly. So part of bringing God into our politics, or thinking of it through that lens, is in not judging each other. But in looking at: ‘that’s my brother or sister in Christ, and here is where they tend to fall on the spectrum, and I can understand where they see God in this component of their politics’, ok? That’s not judging.
Another aspect I spoke about in the sermon was about looking at our work and our play. I think that’s another place we judge. No matter where we fall on the spectrum, right? Some people are very hard-working and they look at people who play as lazy and unfocused. And some people who fall on the spectrum as being oriented toward play, look at people who work intensely as being stiff and too rigid. Instead of judging that, look at where God is in both of those sides. Look at where God is in play and how God wants to evolve the creative, playful aspects of ourselves. Look at where God is in our work and how God wants to bring order out of chaos. Again, instead of judging, try to find where God is, in those spaces.
And the last place I’ll mention specifically, is in relationships. Again, whenever we might have conflict in relationships, we tend to judge the other, whoever the other is, as: ‘well, they’re so… (fill in the blank), dumb, clueless, out of touch, wrong! (Laughs) Whatever that would be. Instead of judging in that way, when you have conflict or a difference of opinion, and they’re in one spot on the spectrum and you’re in another on the spectrum… look at: ‘where is God in this relationship?’ ‘Where do I do those things that are frustrating me in the other person?’ ‘Where does God want to help reorient me, so I can come to God and repent of those things?’ That’s one of the components that’s mentioned in this text, it should lead towards our repentance. “God’s kindness is meant to lead us toward repentance”. So instead of elevating ourselves to this position of: ‘we’re amazing’, realize God loves us, and God is gracious in the places where we’re sinful, but that doesn’t mean we’re not sinful. It just means God is kind and forgiving.
Wanting to be oriented towards God, and bring God into all of our lives, that should bring us continually into places of repentance, like a drumbeat. Bah boom, bah boom, bah boom… That’s where we’re headed, bringing God into all aspects; seeing where we stray and miss the mark and saying ‘God help me with this piece’. So, enjoy that today! Bring God into all your parts and all your pieces, as you refrain from judging one another. Realizing that we all do! So, we’re all going to repent of that (you’ve got good company around you), as we continue to seek the love of God and God being oriented as first and primary, in howwe engage.
Have a great day everybody! Take care. Bye-bye.