Scripture: Matthew 7:1-6
Last week we heard Jesus’ teaching about wealth which many consider the most challenging and troubling pieces of scripture. I think those folks may not have considered the full implications of the next thing Jesus says. In my opinion, it’s far more difficult:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged, for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 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. (Matthew 7:1-4)
I get it, Jesus, I get it. Pastor Nadia Bolz Weber says that Americans’ drug of choice is looking down on other people–and that’s an accurate observation, especially for Christians. There is nothing that makes us feel closer to God than feeling superior to other people.
But of course, that’s not true. Jesus is our source of holy and healing love and intimacy with God, not separation or superiority. And life in the body of Christ requires wisdom and discernment that leads to reconciliation and transformation, not judgement. In Christ there is no condemnation–but there sure is a lot of it in our churches.
Even at the Grove. We have this extraordinary calling to be a community of salt and light–a healthy and holy multi-ethnic community that bears witness to the power of the love of Jesus Christ. And, friends, we–all of us, most especially starting with me, have some growing up and healing to do if we are to live fully into that call. I hope you’ll join me as we seek the truth that sets us free in this portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount.
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