Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. . . . “There is no one righteous, not even one.”
It may seem odd, but consider this: if you’re under water and you can’t breathe, it’s really not significant to boast that at least you are drowning only two feet below the surface while others may be drowning way beneath you.
That’s kind of what Paul is pointing to in these verses. Apparently people were assessing themselves by comparing their level of sinfulness to that of others. They figured that they weren’t so bad because the others were far worse sinners. But what they really needed to do was assess themselves according to God’s standards.
When you’re drowning, if your main focus is whether you are closer to the surface than others, you might entirely miss what you need in order to be saved. The only thing you really need is to get out of the water and breathe again.
Why do people so easily get caught up in comparing themselves to others? Why is it so easy for us to read Scripture in terms of what it says about others, and not listen to what it says about us?
God’s point is clear: the number-one issue in my life is how I live for God. Wisdom means knowing that when I am drowning in sin, it’s my sin that I need to be aware of—and free of—not the sins of others!
Lord, help me to recognize that it doesn’t matter whether I am better or worse than others. Help me to walk the path you have put before me. Amen.
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