Photo provided by:unsplash-logoPablo García Saldaña
The truth be told: A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
Photo provided by: unsplash-logoArtur Rutkowski
Do Not Judge.
Matthew 7:1-3 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Its simple, when you are perfect, cast the first stone. Followers of Christ live their lives chasing after Jesus and learning to live in His truth. However one of the things we constantly fail to realize is how much we are not like Him.:
How many of us would really lay down our lives for anyone?
How many of us have mastered forgiveness?
How many of us love unconditionally?
So, how many of us are worthy or righteousness enough to judge?
Its simple, none of us. The Bible is full of ways for us to improve ourselves, yet one of the biggest stigmas on Christian culture is how judgemental we are – that we know what is best for others. In reality, the only thing we know for certain is that Christ died on the cross in the hopes that all would come to repentance and have eternal life. We also know that while he was on Earth, He spent a majority of His limited time with people, showing them the love of God and the value they have within themselves.
Chasing after Jesus means that we Christ left the Holy Spirit with us to give us power beyond our weaknesses, and being filled with the Holy Spirit is the closest to perfection that we will ever reach on earth. This not to say that we shouldn’t be held accountable, but being a Christian takes going so much furter. It takes consistent, daily transformation of our own lives. That is what our focus should be — filling our entire lives with the light of God…then we can be a beacon of light to draw all men to Him.
Proverbs 14:11 “The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.”
I came across this scripture, and it made me think about the immigration situation, particularly in the United States.
It takes at truly selfless person to understand the plight of an immigrant, especially a refugee. But to concern yourself with the oppression of others is not only a selfless thing to do, but it is one of the most Christ like. Jesus loved us so much that He took on our oppression as a price for our freedom – and all we have to do is accept Him.
We don’t have to pass a test or go through an obstacle course to get to Jesus, all we have to do is say yes. We don’t have to fill out any papers or pass some background check. He has already done all the work. He has been standing at the door, waiting to let us in. All we need to do is knock.
This Proverb stood out to me because it says the house of the wicked and then refers to the tent of the upright; and the tent made me think about refugee camps. The camps where refugees live in tents, watching as their homes are destroyed or dealing with the separation from their families. Not sure where their next meal will come from or what their next move should be.
In Matthew 25, Jesus directly identifies himself with the downtrodden: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
This is the measure of the final judgement before God. Sit back and think on your life: What have I don’t to people? What am I doing to aid those who are suffering? This was so important to God that Jesus repeats himself in order for there to be no confusion: Help People. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. Because it is not about them or you. It is about God’s Kingdom and pouring out the love of Jesus.
Matthew 25:40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[c] you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
We can only be like Christ when we learn to identify with those He also identified with. Jesus knew that he was a King, the Son of the Most High God. He knew he wasn’t merely an ordinary man by any standard, but those were His people. Jesus loved them all, and it is this unexplainable love that led Him to lay down His life in the hopes that people would be free. So why do we continue to accept excuses for oppression when we are in a place to offer freedom? Lord, I pray:
Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
John 6:26: “Jesus answered them and said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye ate of the loaves and were filled.”
The truth be told, we don’t serve God because we love Him, but because of what we think He can do for us. Jesus said, “If you love Me keep my commandments.” The world is not impressed by your attire, the car you drive and the expensive accessories you adorn yourself in. People want to see the Jesus we serve and He has to be seen in the life we live. We cannot love God and despise one another.
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom 14:17)
The truth be told, we can’t take the truth.
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
The bible says to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added unto you.” Before this proclamation, Jesus is saying that we shouldn’t worry about life and the troubles that come along with it, that God will always take care of His people. He is saying that we should seek God and His righteousness first, and everything else will be handled and answered.
So I’ve decided to take that approach in how I’m feeling today. Here’s a short list: angry, confused, violent, unsure, skeptical, oppressed, limited, unprotected, ignored…I could go on but the point of this post is to work through these feelings the best way I know how, and that is through Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12 gives doctrine about faith, discipline, renewing our spirit, and the second coming of Christ. It starts out by defining our faith through Jesus, warning us that the path of the righteous is not easy but that Jesus did it through faith so that we as followers of Christ would be able as well. We are commanded to endure the race and embrace the pain, because it chastens us. The scripture explains that this chastening leads to peace, and ultimately that is what I need right now.
Peace. It’s an eluding word as I think about the world right now, trying to understand it as a young, black woman in America. Trying to come to terms with events, which at first glance don’t seem to directly affect me, but in the grand scheme of things touch every aspect of my life – in ways I know that I don’t fully understand.
The bible says that the peace of God surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. As I right this, I’m praying to be overtaken by that kind of peace. I’m praying that flows from heaven to guard the hearts and minds of all of those who woke up this morning lost and hurt and confused and angry. That it settles our spirits and soothes our souls.
Hebrews 12 warns us that the chastening will be painful, but that it is the ultimate sign of God’s love for us – if He didn’t do it, that means he doesn’t care. If we consider Jesus, his walk on earth those 33 years was tragic and beautiful all at the same time. If anyone knows the plight of a black man, it would be Jesus. He was ridiculed and questioned daily. For all of his followers, he had twice as many people who hated him and wanted him dead. For all the good he did, he had skeptics who couldn’t see the miracles for what they were but instead mocked him at every turn. His enemies plotted against him and his own friends betrayed him. He was beaten, battered, and bruised for our iniquities…the more I think about this in the context of Hebrews 12, the more I realize how much God loves Jesus – and how much God loves us. God walked with him, and maintained his peace.
Just for us.
I feel the peace in that, I embrace the comfort. I don’t want to ignore the plight of those living in the same messed up world that I am, but instead I want the peace to be passed on. For people to know that just like the pleasures of the world, the pain of the world is also temporary. Its not this life and this world we should be anguished and concerned about, but our souls and eternity. Its not the death of flesh that matters, but the destination of our soul. The chastening we go through now is the prepare us for eternal life. The fruit to be yielded from the process God puts us through is the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” – without which no man will enter the kingdom of heaven.