The speck, the beam, and the eye

Being guilty of sin doesn’t mean it’s wrong to say another person’s sin is wrong. After all, if we say we have no sin the truth isn’t where we live spiritually (1 John 1:8). But this isn’t to say there’s not a present problem if we think we can correct the “smaller” sin (unintentional and intentional mistakes alike) of others while actually living (habitually committing) in a “larger” sin ourself without it being a major issue.

Removing the speck while having a beam in our eye (Matthew 7:1-5) has to do with requiring more of ourselves than we do of others instead of the vice-versa!

Removing our own speck before dealing with another’s beam has to do with understanding the seriousness of the lesson ourself before we try to teach someone else. It has to do with seeing ourself before attempting to help others see.

Take, as a rough illustration, the following example from an actual online spelling test given to a sister-in-Christ’s young child:

Continue reading

#christian-living, #illustrations, #judging-others

The one Samuel wanted to choose as king

Samuel was a great prophet who served God for many years.

He served as a judge during pivotal moments, and he also happened to be God’s representative when the people made known their desire for a worldly-structured government in the form of a king.

I don’t believe Samuel enjoyed “politics” but nonetheless he found himself in the midst of overseeing the anointing of two different kings of Israel: Saul and David (1 Samuel 9:27, 10:1, 16:12-13).

In each anointing it was God who did the choosing, but do you remember who Samuel would have chosen had the responsibility belonged to him?

Samuel’s choice would have been Eliab, the brother of the future king, David.

So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”” (1 Samuel 16:6-7 NKJV)

Samuel was a good man but he learned that the most difficult thing to judge was not guilt or innocence after something was done, when or when not to attack an external enemy, or even when it was time to encourage or rebuke the most powerful political leader in the land! Samuel learned that the most difficult thing to judge is another person’s heart – which has nothing to do with someone’s outward appearance.

Have we learned the lesson that God personally taught Samuel?

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25 NKJV)

#1-samuel, #judge-righteously, #judging-others

What do you expect a preacher to look like?

In the ever-growing field of personal opinion, people have certain expectations … whether reasonable or unreasonable. And this can even apply to what an individual thinks a preacher should like.

An individual once explained to me that preachers shouldn’t have facial hair.

Of course there are many people who believe they know exactly how a preacher should dress.

With the height of some pulpits you would almost think some congregations have a height requirement for preachers.

When I first started preaching I was told I was too young “to be the preacher” (this individual wasn’t being mean-spirited though). I look a little different now so I do not hear that one anymore.

Appearances rightly disappoint at times, but sometimes appearances should have nothing to do with our approval or disapproval. The judgment of a preacher should be relegated (as long as immodesty or impropriety is not concerned) to their faithfulness of God’s word and their desire to help people understand it.

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2 NKJV)

“For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”” (2 Corinthians 10:10 NKJV)

#appearance, #judging-others, #preaching

Every Judas is not the same

Hear the name Judas and I’d say the odds of you thinking about the apostate apostle from Iscariot are pretty good.

Despite the fact the name Judas (as well as Jude) is the New Testament translation of the memorable Old Testament name Judah (and that the name actually means, “he shall be praised”), when most people hear the name Judas, a negative connotation is made due to the actions of the aforementioned apostle.

But to subject all Judas’ to a negative mindset simply because of their name would be a big mistake. For one example (amongst several others), there is one Judas people probably rarely, if ever, remember at all, much less in a positive way: Continue reading

#judas, #judging-others, #spiritual-illustration

The cross of Christ produces humility

It’s hard to look down on others when we’re looking up at the cross of Christ.

That thought isn’t cliché – it’s rock solid truth. If Jesus died for us as an individual (and he did) and we didn’t deserve it (because we didn’t) then that means Jesus died for everyone else who deserves it no less than we did. And because of that we should want other people to find the same grace that we have found at the foot of the cross of Christ. A thought like that is what Paul was trying impress upon the mind of Titus and then unto the individuals whom Titus would be teaching (Titus 3:1-7).

Furthermore, this mentality isn’t a new expectation by God because of the cross of Christ; the mentality was consummated at the cross, but it didn’t originate there (Isaiah 57:15). God has always had the right to create his own standard of forgiveness, and his conditions are non-negotiable: 1) admit we’re wrong and take his offer to be made right, or 2) stay stubbornly wicked or self-righteous and earn what’s coming (Romans 3:23-27, Romans 6:23).

Humility is a must to follow Jesus. Humility is a must to be right with the Father. Humility is a must to allow the Spirit of God to work on us in a good way. And humility is a must when it comes to dealing with other people.

None of this means there’s no such thing as a righteous judgment (John 7:24), but what it does mean is that if we can’t see what humility is trying to teach us while looking up at the cross then we must be too busy looking down on other people.

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14 – NKJV)

#cross-of-christ, #humility, #judging-others, #salvation

Superficial 21st Century Judging

Judging people on a superficial basis has been a human trait for quite a while (John 1:45-46, James 2:1-4).

But the question is, “Has the enlightened mind of the 21st century individual changed the way we see others?”

Not a chance!

Here a few examples of what I would call 21st century superficial judging characteristics (feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments…that’s if you can even think of a quasi-new way we judge people):

  • making a judgment based on the age of someone’s cell phone (remember when it was cooler to have a smaller phone?)
  • making a judgment based on whether or not an individual (or business) has a Facebook or Twitter account
  • making a judgment based on the main source of our news information (Fox vs CNN)
  • making a judgment based on the size of our “carbon footprint”
  • making a judgment based on someone’s Health-care provider

The above examples are just another reason why the 21st century would do well to heed a wise admonition spoken so poignantly in the “old, outdated and ancient” 1st century by a teacher who knew what it was like to be judged on a superficial basis.

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:27)

#21st-century, #judging-others, #superficial

April 2014 Issue of Christian Worker

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics that you will find:

  • What Church Membership Means (Don Prather)
  • Why I’m Rearing My children WITH Religion (Sam Willcut)
  • Some Do’s and Don’ts for Preachers (Carl B. Garner)
  • Young People and the Guarding of Their Influence (Roger Jackson)
  • Raising the Banner of Error (Kevin Cauley)
  • “What is RIGHT with It?” (Pat McIntosh)
  • “I Do Not Preach on That” (Rob L. Whitacre)
  • An Unnecessary Exercise (Dan Winkler)
  • All of Our Divisions (Don Prather)
  • The Parable of the Hammer

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions…or by clicking on the link provided here in The Fellowship Room under the “Friends” category to your right.

Copyright © 2014 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#children, #christian-worker, #church-membership, #division-within-the-body-of-christ, #doctrine, #error, #good-influence, #judging-others, #parenting, #pdf, #preaching

The Irony of John chapter 9

On the heels of revealing himself as the Light of the world, the sinless Son of God, the Savior of sinners, the true Rabbi, the One who makes the truth known, the One who knows God, and the great I AM to a group of people who took up stones to murder him, Jesus is seen as all of these by a man born blind from birth.

What irony! The only person to see Jesus the way Jesus sought to be seen was a blind man. In the eyes of the people the blind man was unemployed, uneducated and unholy. In the eyes of Jesus the man had what it took – dependence, humility and faith. Talk about a serious case of the first being last and the last being first!

Is there someone around you that you think looks like they’ve been blind from birth? Maybe they’re able to see more than what we think. The only way to find out is to mention the man who still has the ability “to make the blind see” through their sins and right into the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 28:18-20).

Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (John 9:10-11)

#blind-man, #evangelism, #gospel-of-john, #jesus, #judging-others, #spiritual-blindness, #spiritual-sight