Merciful Lord, Your Word provides illumination for my life, to guide and convict. I want to walk worthy of You.
Read Luke 6:37-42
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.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Gal. 6:7).
We often think that we will be judged according to God’s standards for our lives. So it comes as a surprise when Jesus tells us we will be judged by our own standards. Whatever judgments we make about other people will be applied to us. If we criticize others, the same criticisms will be held against us. If we show generosity to others, we will receive abundance in return. This teaching warns us against hypocrisy. We can’t impose standards on other people that we don’t live by ourselves. But it is also a warning against self-delusion. Very often we don’t recognize hypocrisy in ourselves. The story of the mote and beam makes this point so well. The image is such an exaggerated one—how could anyone notice a speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye if they had a great plank obscuring their own vision? And how on earth could they be so unaware of the plank? Yet we are so often unaware of our own faults and failings; we’re all too ready to point out those of other people.
Churches have split because of the way people judge others rather than themselves, and the same tendency damages marriages, families and neighborhoods. It spoils work and ruins international relations, and even causes wars. Yet, as Jesus shows us, it is ridiculous. The first step out of hypocrisy is simply to live by the standards we impose on everyone else, for then we will begin to realize how wrong they often are, and have the humility to seek a better way. That better way is very reassuring. It involves generosity of spirit, giving rather than criticizing, warmth rather than judgment. The picture Jesus paints is of a measure that is packed full and overflowing with kindness (38), reflecting God’s own generosity which heals and replenishes and never tears down.
Ask God to remove what obscures your vision, and to safeguard you against self-delusion. Ask to see and turn from any judgmental or hypocritical behavior.
Forgive me, Lord, when I give myself a lift by dragging others down. I want to live generously and graciously for You.
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