Matthew 7 – Observations
There’s this thing that we do: we hold people to a much higher standard than we hold ourselves. It’s okay for us to spend hours on social media looking at other people’s posts, but it’s not okay for our children to use their phones to play games. It’s okay for us to point out the faults of others, but it’s not okay for them to indicate that we are less than perfect.
We read the Bible and look at the actions of the scribes and Pharisees and like to pretend that their actions are things that we would never consider doing. But the truth is:
A little scribe or Pharisee lives in all of us.
Jesus knew that it was way easier for us to identify the sin in others than it is for us to identify the sin in ourselves. And that’s why we get these warnings:
“Don’t judge because you too will be judged. The same way you look at others is the same way that others will look at you; it’s the same way that I will judge you. If you are merciful, then I will be merciful to you.
Before you go around trying to rid the world of sin, clean up your own house.”
Photo taken by Dominic C
Jesus doesn’t want us to feel bad about ourselves, he just wants to save us and until we recognize the condition that sin puts us in … that won’t be possible. And so he tells us:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Ultimately Jesus wants us to be where he is and so he tells us to clean up our act and to follow the “narrow path”. ‘But what do those two things have in common?’ you may wonder. Did you ever stop to think how easy it is to judge someone?
Like, we hear something on the news and immediately we start to critique it or to try to find the motive. Or we hear someone at work make a statement and we presume to know the reason behind the statement or the character of the person who said it. Has that ever happened to you? No? Maybe it’s just me.
But the thing is, it will be always seem easier to do those things that are not pleasing to God. It will always be easier to not show mercy and love to those around us (especially those outside our inner circle). In compassion Jesus implores us to take the road least travelled because by doing so we will find eternal life.
Father, thank you for sending your son to show us the path that leads to you. Help us to choose to do those things that are pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Read my review of the new devotional by Stacey Thureen: Daily Wisdom for the Mommy-to-Be Everyday Encouragement during Your Pregnancy
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Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3 NKJV
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When you find yourself going through the motions, this is a reason for self-reflection.