12 March 2010

Jesus Teaches about Discernment

"Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.
“Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you..."   Matthew 7:1-6

Jesus previously warns us about serving two masters.  We are to first seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  We know that wealth must not be our focus.  How are we to regard one another as we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Jesus now teaches that perception is everything.  How do we see others?  How do we see Him?  How do we see our heavenly Father?  How do we see ourselves?  This is key in seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.
The hardest thing for me to change as I repent of serving in another kingdom instead of the Kingdom of Heaven is laying down my own rule for His rule.  It's His kingdom.  It is not my kingdom.  He is the King.  I am not.  He is the one who decides who has, is and will serve Him.  I do not.
As we have already seen, Jesus cares deeply about people.  He touches lepers.  He forgives sins.  He parties with tax collectors.  He gives intimate teaching to fishermen.  He does not refuse anyone who asks for what he offers.  As we will read later, Jesus gains a reputation for being 'the friend of sinners'.  
That title was given by people who saw themselves as the favoured of Israel, as the favoured ones of God.  And, as we have already read, the ones who trusted in their own righteousness had hard hearts.  They could not care less about people.  They saw a healing and wondered if it was done on the right day.  They saw a celebration and wondered if a rabbi should be eating with those people.  They saw a man who had not been able to walk for 37 years and scolded him for carrying his mat.
If the Father can forgive me, he can forgive anyone.  It is not my place to decide who can not come in and who should stay out.  If they come to me for help, as a servant of the King, I help.  If they come to me wanting to seek first His kingdom and righteousness, as a servant of the King, I offer what He has given to me to assist them.
But, in order to more effectively serve others, I must make sure my sight is clear.  I cannot seek first His kingdom and righteousness, if I am not truly seeking His kingdom and righteousness.  The blind cannot lead the blind.  I must humbly, daily seek the King's orders in my life.  I must not be so quick to focus on and point out my neighbours' faults.  To constantly see the wrong in people is the way of the world.  It's a discipline from Jesus to see the ability for anyone to be the light of the world.  Whatever is keeping me from seeing others as Jesus sees them must be dealt with.
It would not be loving, however, if I saw someone with an irritated, tear-stained eye and not offer help.  If I had something in my eye, I would want someone to help me get it out.  After all, I have just acknowledged that I need my eye clear if I am to clear the eyes of others.  It would be stupid pride (as if there is another kind) if I was to refuse help and allow my vision to grow worse and worse.
It's pride and wickedness that blind the eyes of those who refuse to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  We live in a world where we see sick and hurting people every day.  All of us need help in one form or another.  The problem is not everyone wants help.  They stupidly walk around with planks in their eye stumbling through life while proclaiming to anyone within the sound of their voice that they are doing just fine.
One of the hardest lesson for people who have been given hearts of flesh is to understand that while Jesus offers salvation to everyone, not everyone wants salvation.  He gave teachings that confounded the stubborn and caused their blindness and deafness to increase.  He only healed those who believed he was their only hope.  He only healed those who came to him.
The Holy Spirit seems to be reminding us through Jesus' words here:  There is plenty of need out there.  You have been sent to serve those in need.  But don't waste your time forgiving those who don't want to be forgiven, helping those who don't want to be helped and healing those who don't want to be healed.  
Believe me there is more than enough to do for those who cry out to our Father for help.

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