The readings set for today are Ezra 9 and Matthew 17:24-27.
When Ezra arrived in Judah, he learned that many Jews had taken foreign wives. This was a clear violation of Old Testament Law, and Ezra was appalled. But rather than strike out angrily at those who had sinned, Ezra identified himself with the sinners and confessed to the Lord. He did not speak of “their” guilt, but of “our” guilt (v.9:7). He did not condemn their “disregard” for God’s laws, but cried out that “we have disregarded the commands” (v.10). Rather trhan stand self-righteously in judgment, Ezra cried, “Not one of us can stand in your presence” (v.15). Ezra’s heart was broken by the sin he found, and he accepted partial responsibility for the failure of men he had never even met.
We can’t read Ezra’s prayer of confession in this chapter without sensing the depth of this godly man’s anguish and shame. He was deeply hurt by the sins of his people: hurt for them and God. The reality of Ezra’s hurt, expressed openly in weeping, prayer, and confusion, moved the men and women of Judah to confess as well – and to purge the sin from their lives.
So the next time we see sin in the body of Christ, let’s be a little slower in pointing the finger (or not point it at all). Let’s realise that if the church was what God called it to be, and if we were the Christians God called us to be, our brother or sister might not have fallen. Rather than judging, let our hearts be broken for the sin and damage to the church.
It would be good if we could grieve over other people’s sin as well as our own.
Have a great day,