Moses Goldmon, executive vice president of Lane College, spoke in chapel about “What happens when people in authority commit sin.” Throughout his message, Goldmon used the story of Judah and Tamar as an example, found in Genesis 38:11-26.
Goldmon began by explaining that while Judah made his own mistakes and had a set of problems, the overall issue didn’t start with Judah himself.
“Judah’s problems didn’t start with Judah,” he said. “Judah’s problem started with Jacob, the trickster; the youngest of Isaac’s twin sons.”
Jacob’s sins were passed on to his son Judah, who was “in turn, passing his issues on to his sons,” Goldmon said. Sins do not merely affect people, but they affect those around us, having a negative impact on society.
Goldmon listed five things that happen when people in authority commit sin:
It encourages, if not compels, others to sin
Our conscious becomes seared
Those who are under our authority turn against us, but they hide it from us
We become less tolerant of others’ sins
When we recognize it, we must confess and repent of it
Each of these five points can be seen in the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah’s sins influenced his sons, two of whom were “evil in the Lord’s sight” (Gen. 38:6, 10). Judah’s sins also influenced Tamar, compelling her to commit sin (Gen. 38:14-19). Judah’s conscious was seared by sins to the point that he could no longer recognized his own sins (Gen. 38:15-18). Tamar’s actions showed she had turned against Judah and took matters into her own hands. Judah, though he had sinned himself, would not tolerate the sin of Tamar once he learned she had become pregnant by prostitution (Gen. 38:24). However, once Judah recognized his sin, he repented (Gen. 38:26).
After finishing the story of Judah and Tamar, Goldmon compared their story to that of Joseph. Both Judah and Joseph made their own choices: Judah made wrong choices and committed sin, while Joseph made the choice to follow the Lord, no matter what, and he stayed righteous. Just like Judah’s sins were like a curse passed on to his sons, but Joseph’s righteousness and obedience to the Lord was like a blessing passed on to those around him (Gen. 47:13-27).
“For all of Israel was blessed by the life of Joseph when we get to the end of the story when the drought was basically killing the entire world,” Goldmon said. “But in the case of Judah where this was inserted, the people who follow him were literally cursed and their lives continued to go down, and down, and down. Why? Simply because Judah allowed his sin to affect others and be passed on to those who were under his authority.”
“God is counting on us to do what’s right,” he said. “God is counting on us to love Him. God is counting on us to love ourselves, and God is counting on us to love others so that the world will become better place.”
Christians are in a place of authority, Goldmon said. They have the ability to pass on either curses or blessings, and it is their responsibility to make sure that their words and actions are such that they reflect God and pass on blessings to those around them.
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