Luke 6 -- 7
We all have sinned numerous times beyond our ability to count and we are deeply grateful that our Heavenly Father forgives us and is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy . . . He hath not . . . rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:8,10-12). If we are truly grateful, we will approach everyone who sins against us with the same mercy and compassion that we receive from the Lord. It is so natural to be hypocritical that Jesus said: Why do you behold the mote (speck) that is in your brother's eye, but perceive (recognize) not the beam that is in your own eye? . . . You hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of your own eye, and then shall you see clearly to pull out the mote that is in your brother's eye (Luke 6:41-42).
It is our responsibility to recognize the mote for what it is, but we must first consider our own beam. Only then are we prepared to examine our attitude toward the sinner, as well as toward the mote (sin). Do we possess the compassion of Paul, who said: I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. . . . for my brethren (Romans 9:2-3)?
Such a heart of concern contrasts with those who overlook their own faults and failures, but rarely miss an opportunity to gossip about someone's conduct. We are prone to imply evil motives to their actions, and often exaggerate them. We tend to judge ourselves by our good intentions, but others by their mistakes. God is a merciful God who forgives us when we repent of our sin. But His mercy also makes a vital demand upon us -- we must extend that same mercy to others.
Criticism is often an act of self-righteousness to build one's own self-esteem by putting others down, approaching a friend in the guise of "praying" for someone's misconduct. It can even be a devilish opportunity to slander and destroy another. When we express unkind thoughts toward someone who has failed to measure up to our expectations, we destroy our privilege to restore a repentant sinner with the love of Christ. It is this beam of self-righteousness that Jesus spoke of when He said: First take the beam out of your own eye. Then the love of Christ can flow through us, reach down to lift up the fallen, and restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering ourselves, lest we also be tempted (Galatians 6:1). As disciples of Christ, the sinner needs to see clear evidence of His forgiving love perfected in us (I John 4:12).
It is all too easy to jump to conclusions without hearing or caring about all the facts. We all have an amazing ability to misjudge the thoughts and actions of others. For judgmental people who thrive on faultfinding, they find something wrong with everything that is said or done by another whom they would love to belittle. If he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him (Luke 17:4).
For Luke 7:22: See Isa. 61:1. Luke 7:27: See Mal. 3:1.
Government Official: Sen. Jim Bunning (KY) · BPM Staff: Pam Pendergrast · Pray for Shirley Dobson, Chairman, 2000 National Day of Prayer · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Dedicated Listeners · Country: Georgia (6 million) west and central Transcaucasia between Asia and Europe · Major languages: Georgian and Russian · Religious opposition to Christianity · 57% Georgian/Armenian/Russian/Syrian Orthodox; 21% Muslim; .8% Catholic; .5% Protestant; .5% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Be grateful for your inheritance as a child of the King (I Peter 1:3-4).
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