10 Tuesday Dec 2013
The light of the moon can pass through me, I can feel its passage, and have no need for judgment or comment. Imagine what that would be like, to live a day, an entire day, without any judgment or comment. I suspect we might not have a great deal to say; certainly our minds would be far quieter than usual.
Around Longings End we have this gentle reminder when it appears that one of us is focusing on the perceived speck in the others’ eye, forgetting all about the log lodged loveless in our own.
You’re planking again, darling!
And that can stop us in our tracks, bringing humility and often laughter.
But there have been a few heated moments in our marriage when we have been less than edifying in our words, judgment prideful.
And Jesus does not like that.
So we turn around and keep turning around, hand in hand with Him.
Repenting of planking — and other sins as well — is a fitting and timely gift. A gift fit for a King 365 days a year not only at Christmas.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
He refers to us who plank as you hypocrite and we don’t know about you but we really don’t want our behavior to be worthy of such a label.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
Whoa, that’s a whole lotta woe for being hypocritical!
Seriously, these verses stop us be cold. We don’t want to be counted as camel swallowers full of wickedness, do you?
Our Lord’s very strong words are a warning that we each must take to heart if we truly want to live as His disciples with clean hearts not only during the 12 days of Christmas but all 12 months through the year.
Letting the outside of us be a true representation of the inside.
Remembering that if our hearts are not good then no matter how much good we do it will amount to no good thing at all and our grand works for show will burn right up.
As we draw closer to the fire during this season of snow and merriment, let’s warm our hearts for Him by choosing to obey His words.
And all His words, even the strong ones, come from His great heart of love for us, His dusty sinning little sheeplings.
So this Christmas and beyond, let’s live the life we say we do all the time and especially when behind closed doors, releasing judgements of others and speaking words of encouragement and love instead.
Being the blessing we would like to receive.
God calls us to love Him and then our neighbor as ourselves and those we live with daily are our closest and hopefully dearest neighbors.
And what better gift to give our precious Jesus than our humble obedience, service and love.
It’s what His heart most wants under the tree this Christmas. That tree that became a rugged cross where He was crucified to take away our sins.
Christmas is a gift from God who went to the cross in love and died bloody so that we could live free as part of the royal bloodline.
Without condemnation and judgements.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
As we grow grateful for this gift we will become more plankless, surrendering to the One who knows all that lurks in our hearts and hears every word that slips our lips.
And we will stop finding so many specks in others.
As God’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another. You all belong to one body, of which there is one Spirit, just as you all experienced one calling to one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father of us all, who is the one over all, the one working through all and the one living in all.
Ephesians 4:1-6 J.B. Phillips
Accepting each other freely in love.
Gifting each other with grace…
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