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by: Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Romans 7:24-25

There is still plenty of buzz about what went down at The Oscars Award ceremony. Even if you missed it, you would have to live on a remote island by yourself not to have heard about it. The Fresh Prince, Will Smith, shockingly slapped comedian Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair loss. Jada Smith suffers from Alopecia. Whether Rock knew this or not seems to be somewhat sketchy. What shook up the world was how Will Smith walked onto the stage and assaulted Rock, after which, Smith cursed Rock out. Smith seemingly flips personalities in an instant from wholesome to hood. That same night, we saw a flood of emotions from Will Smith. He went from laughter to anger, to tears, to partying it up and getting Jiggy With It at the Vanity Fair after-party.

 

In Smith’s apology to Chris Rock, he said, “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. I reacted emotionally. He continued, I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line, and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.” What Smith was saying quite candidly is, I don’t want to be like this. It is embarrassing, it is not who I want to be or whom I want you to see. I’m guilty as charged.

This message is for the person who loves God with all your heart but every now and then, like Will Smith, you are guilty as charged. There is a part of you that pops up and reminds you of whom you don’t want to be. If you’ve ever walked down that street, then you can identify with the author of this text. Paul lays bare his sinful soul and unbecoming behavior that he wants to do away with.

Hey BlackVybez Family! If it could happen to a saint-like Paul, who are you to think you are immune from the triggers in this life that make you say I don’t want to be like this? We are so quick to cry guilty as charged and judge people on their public slip-ups without knowing their private struggles.

 

In this passage, Paul deals with the issue of sin and he argues his case like a polished and prepared attorney. The weight of Paul’s argument hinges on his strongest piece of evidence and that is the fact that sin has made us guilty as charged and it carries a sentence of death. Paul presents the evidence of those who are guilty! In Romans 1, he points his finger at the Gentile world, and says, Guilty as charged. In chapter 2, he walks over to the Jewish world and says to them, Guilty as charged. In chapter 3, Paul points the finger at all of us and makes a blanket statement that it’s not just the Gentile world and the Jewish world, but all of us have sinned. In chapter 4, Paul makes clear that the only way we could make it right with God is through believing that Jesus Christ died for our sins.  In chapter 5, Paul presents the supreme sacrifice that Jesus made for us through His death. In Chapter 6, Paul reminds us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. However, in Chapter 7, Paul speaks of his own struggle.

In verse 24, Paul cries out in desperation, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Paul looks at his own life and says, "I don’t want to be like this!" Paul describes sin as a corpse that has attached itself to us as an opponent. In Paul’s day, if a person were found guilty of murder, they would take the victim's dead corpse and tie it to the killer’s body. They would bind the dead corpse head-to-head, torso to torso together until eventually the death and decay of the corpse would seep into the living body. This is how Paul describes the ugly nature of sin, as a dead man taking life from him. Notice that Paul does not say what shall deliver me but who shall deliver me. He closes this passage by giving thanksgiving to the Savior. Verse 25 - I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Paul is clear that Jesus saves.

 

Here it is! We all have our not-so-good moments like Will Smith that leave us embarrassed and praying for God to deal with the ugly side of us we don’t like. These moments can leave us feeling ashamed of who we are. To add to the pain, what people don’t know about you places them in a position to judge you without knowing your unrecorded moments. The unrecorded moments are moments not captured by the silver screen or the stage of life where everyone sees the polished persona for presentation. The unrecorded moments are not made for tv, but they are colored with life experiences that are not for public consumption. The unrecorded moments are what make up the real you; it consists of the cultural soil that has honed you and sometimes it is colored with abuse, pain, racism, deception, and hurts that come out at times we don’t want them to. Before we judge someone else, we must ask what happened in their unrecorded moments to make them act this way?

 

This story teaches us

3 things:

  • Everybody has a trigger.

  • Private struggles become real against public scrutiny.

  • We all have a side we want no one else to see.

  • God’s grace is sufficient in our weaknesses.

Be Encouraged!
Dr. Oscar T. Moses
 

 

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