Pot Calling Kettle Black!
Life-giving God, You speak and act. As I pray I know I am not begging against Your reluctance, but activating Your readiness.
Read MARK 7:14-23
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
To accuse another is a great way of boosting your own sense of status. It happens all the time, perhaps especially in politics! Have you noticed a recent example?
In psychology the process is called “projection.” We usually do it unconsciously. The idea is that I avoid recognizing my own darker features (the parts of me I feel ashamed of, probably) by “projecting” them outward onto others, and then roundly condemning them! That way, I can deny the presence of these features in me and feel good about myself as I denounce them in others. If we become aware of this happening around us, we might talk about “the pot calling the kettle black”! An intense interest in issues of purity, such as the scribes and Pharisees had, usually derives its energy from projection. Such people usually need others around them, who can be condemned as “impure.” As the Pharisees looked, often with genuine thankfulness, at the impure lives around them, they were bolstered in their own sense of rightness (see Luke 18:9-12).
Bad religion and bad politics are almost always energized by projection. Jesus turns to the crowd (14), knowing that they are more likely than the Pharisees to recognize this truth, and exposes the whole phenomenon. Rather than projecting impurity onto others, we need to recognize it in ourselves. His list in vs. 21 and 22 is horrifying: he’s not saying that we’re all guilty of all these things, but that we can certainly recognize ourselves in this list, and that’s where our attention needs to rest. We are already comprehensively polluted in our “heart” (19), long before we come into contact with others. Is it right to avoid contact with people who might badly influence us, or our children, or our churches, or wider society? To what extent? When does such a fear become a way of avoiding seeing bad stuff already present in us? How can we defuse such projection so that we see ourselves and others clearly? (Some answers tomorrow!)
Give some time to meditating on the questions above, and turn them into prayer as you reflect on them.
Merciful Jesus, I thank You that Your mission was to save me from my sin. I’m so grateful you can make straight the crooked places in my life.
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