Read Luke 6 -- 7
In Today’s Reading:
Jesus and the Sabbath; 12 apostles chosen; Sermon on the Mount; healing and miracles; John the Baptist's questions; Jesus anointed.
We all have sinned 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 [has] not . . . rewarded us according to our iniquities. For. . . . 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. Knowing how natural it is to be hypocritical 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 [you shall] 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).
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 others' actions, and even exaggerate them. We tend to judge ourselves by our good intentions, but others by their mistakes. Thankfully, 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. This can even be done by relating to a friend, someone's misconduct in the guise of "praying" for them. Gossip is a devilish act of slandering and destroying another. When we express unkind thoughts toward someone who has failed to measure up to our expectations, we destroy our privilege to restore the one who failed with the love of Christ. The sinner needs to see clear evidence of His forgiving love perfected in us (I John 4:12).
It is easy to jump to conclusions without hearing or caring about all of the facts. We all have an amazing ability to misjudge the thoughts and actions of others. Judgmental people thrive on faultfinding and find something wrong with everything that is said or done by another whom they would love to belittle. 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 an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted (Galatians 6:1).
Thought for Today: It is unjust to criticize anyone -- even those whose efforts fall short of what we expect.
6:11 communed = discussed, plotted; 6:19 virtue = healing power; 6:41 mote = a small speck, dirt, dust or splinter; 7:14 bier = a stand on which a corpse or casket is laid; 7:34 winebibber = one who drinks wine.
For Luke 7:22: See Isa. 61:1. Luke 7:27: See Mal. 3:1.
Government Officials: Sen. Jim Bunning (KY) and Sec. Mel Martinez (Dept. of Housing and Urban Dev.) · Pray for your church · Country: Belize (236,000) on the western coast of Central America · Major languages: English and Spanish · Religious freedom · 64% Roman Catholic; 26% Protestant; 2% spiritist/animist; 1% Hindu; 1% Muslim; 1% Baha’i · Prayer Suggestion: Humble yourself before the Lord (I Peter 5:5-6).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 13:2