|Taken out of context in Paul’s long letter to the Romans, it would appear in today’s reading from Romans Chapter 7 that Paul was having a very bad day. It seems as though he is possibly overreacting to a particular weakness he had.
It’s simple, right? Do the right thing. We usually know, if we listen to our conscience, what is right. So why is it sometimes so difficult to follow that path? Is it because of sin in us, as Paul says?
Sometimes we do sin. But sometimes, the lesser choice isn’t necessarily sinful. It may just be the weaker choice, or the less-perfect choice. It may not be evil; it may just not be as good. Does choosing the less-good act offend God? I believe it may sadden God, but I believe God is understanding, and sends us kindness and compassion, as the psalmist requests in today’s responsorial psalm.
But sometimes, like Paul says, we really are at war within ourselves.
We really know a particular action or thought is sinful. It destroys instead of building up. It contains falsehood instead of truth. It idolizes a false god, such as money or power or ego, instead of submitting to the one true God, Who is love.
But even then, as Paul states many times, especially in this letter to the Romans, Jesus saves. In the end, we cannot save ourselves. Jesus extends his saving hand, but we have to grasp it. We have to take hold of his hand or we lose out on what he is offering – in this life, and the next.