Friday, March 20, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 71)

Jesus said, “Why is it you see the speck that is in another person’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye.”
— Matthew 7:3 (USC)
Reading others is always an inferior task to that of allowing God to use others in order to read ourselves. In other words, there is such benefit in allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through others about areas of sin and failing in our lives. The opposite, of course, is to become fixated on the miniscule speck in the brother’s eye. There is no learning in that for us, really, at any time.
The beam in our own eye is the subject for our awareness. The Lord is never interested in revealing another person’s fault to us, unless, that is, we are in the capacity of superintending the other person — as part of a role — but even in that case we need to be abundantly aware of our predilection to indifference and partiality.
Our personal faith journey is never about noticing what’s going on in another person’s faith journey, unless, that is, God simply wants to use them as a model for us; in what to do and how to operate — or in what not to do and how not to operate.
It is a blessing to consider what God is saying through others to us. It’s usually a curse, on the other hand, to venture with Satan into what God could be saying to us about others.
Who are we to be? Agents of good and care and welfare for the Lord, or agents of the evil one?
The metaphor that Jesus uses is pregnant with meaning. The visual impediment that that large beam is makes it impossible for us to focus with any legitimacy on the irritation in their eye — that actually mightn’t even be there! The beam skews our perspective. That beam is the faulty acumen, the faulty equipment, the faulty persona — predicated on something good is something mischievous. We are all very easily deceived at times. That beam is getting in the way of the relationship God desires we have with this other person. That beam is not glorifying God’s kingdom by the light we bring, through his Presence, into our world; that beam damages the propagation of the Kingdom here on earth in our midst.
If we see the fault in them, let that be our opportunity of awareness to allow God to search us. God will show us how we can be better for them.
A vibrant relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit shows us many opportunities for growth. Our interest in God and his in us is primary. Secondary is our interest in others, but, in that, our interest is to build others up, not judge them.
1.     How easy is it to fall for the trap of Satan, to see what others still must do to please God? How is it you fail God on a regular basis? How is it that his grace covers, consistently, for your ineptitude?
2.     Too many people have the opposite problem with this; they see the need to judge themselves. If you struggle more with this, how can you be fairer on yourself?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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