On Thursdays we will look at the weeks chapter and flesh out a couple of what I feel are main points. I will look at two points from the book through the lens of scripture that I feel is appropriate. You may agree entirely with what I write, you may think I am nuts, or you may see some similarities and some differences. My hope is for the latter, it will make for a more interesting discussion. Please comment and feel free to remind us of other scripture that you feel is important to your view-point. Interaction and civil exchange is encouraged, name calling and cursing will be removed.
The first point that I want to look at is Reverend Hamilton’s fourth point and that is regarding his discussion on being “two-faced.” I like the way that he explains the idea of being two-faced when he writes on page 13, “Jesus was speaking of a superficial faith, which is seen in the outward appearance of religious behavior but has not sunk down into the heart.” When I think of people like this I remember the old television show “Leave it to Beaver,” there was a character there named Eddie who tried to put on a polite show for adults, when in reality he was a jerk. He laid it on so thick that in truth he was fooling no one, just as the pharisees were seen through by Jesus.
We see Jesus calling them out for this in Matthew 23:25-26 (NRSV)”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.” Why would they clean the outside, because that is what people saw! We see throughout the Gospels Jesus telling people, all people followers and opponents alike, that if they are going to talk the talk they better walk the walk. In my eyes our God is a God of love and relationship, just talking about love or only loving a select few goes against all that we are taught. The key here is how we love. We need to love in such a way that all of people’s needs are cared for – both physical and spiritual. These needs need to be met in ways that people see and feel that love, we need more than good intentions. So showing love will look different to every person that we love.
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 (NRSV) The second point that I want to pull out is what Hamilton calls, “Pointing out the sin of others without seeing your own.” This is another point that Jesus makes frequently, remember the story of casting the first stone and other similar lessons. Being in relationships does not include a scoreboard. There are not points awarded for or deducted for sins. There are no classifications of wrong, just wrong.
Many times when I know that I am wrong about something, I try to deflect the issue by pointing out a problem with someone or something else. This is very unproductive. This is an issue we all face at various times in the day. This problem takes many shapes. It can be gossip where people talk about others problems or it can be complaining and pointing out what is wrong. We all know that person who is always negative, bitter and complaining about something. Odds are that person is ourself on a number of occasions. It is usually best to not point out another’s problems outside of a deep personal relationship with that person.
Everyone needs a person or a group to keep them accountable. Those relationships take work and time. It does no good to walk down a street and tell a person that they are doing something wrong. Odds are they will ignore you and think badly of those around you. I think that we need to earn the right to point out another’s sins. When we have not done the foundational work in advance, we will not be heard, and maybe the person who has put in the time will be ignored too.
Those are my thoughts. What do you think. Maybe other places spoke more to you let me know. I have been amazed by the participation, but I really look forward to more people getting involved in the next days to come. If this is valuable to you, let your friends know and invite them to participate too.