Thursday, November 30, 2017

It’s Not Always The Bible . . .


Photo taken by Raysonho – Wikipedia Commons

. . . that brings our thoughts back to where they should be. This morning it was a book’s paragraph, written by an author I’ve followed for decades.

Two characters in the book were discussing relationships with mothers, but in a Christian aspect, it is applicable in a number of relationships:

'"The problem is, your mother was someone who wanted to do everything by the book . . . and she could never quite bring herself to appreciate a daughter to insisted on coloring outside the lines. Mine, either."' she added quietly.'

I, too, am someone who sees things black and white. I've read the black and white:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

And am consistently reminded:

For the wages of sin is death;

Yet seldom reminded that particular verse continues with a promise:

but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 KJV)

So a trip back to those same black and white verses quoted by men who heard Jesus’ words, along with a question: Just what did Jesus do with people He called sinners?

Try Matthew 9:2-5, or Mark 2:5-9, or Luke 5:18-24 for the same story. Another is shown in Luke 7:36-50. Still another  in John 5:1-17. Another mentions the sinfulness, but doesn’t point it out to the sinner nor absolve her of it, just opens the door to her understanding in John 4:1-42.

So Jesus is more than capable of recognizing sin – He is in the business of forgiving sins. Christians don’t doubt that, and we expect Him to forgive ours. But after acknowledging that, what are we supposed to do?

Let’s start with the important commandments.  Jesus had been able to silence the Sadducees who believed this life is all mankind has – there was no heaven, nor hell. Matthew 22 tells how that was done, and follows with Jesus’ confrontation with Pharisees who depend upon their compliance with the Law to enter heave. Jesus condensed the Jewish law into two:

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:34-40 KJV)

I can add a note that sometimes Christians get this, but too often we don’t when we believe another has broken them. We tell ourselves we have righteous anger because that other person has openly broken one or both of those two commandments.

May I remind myself (and you, along the way) that I am not to: 1) forgive sin;

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. (Hebrews 10:30 KJV)

and 2) make anyone else regret their sin;

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (Luke 6:37 KJV)

Study the fullness of the message in Matthew 7 and Luke 6, keeping in mind this one description Jesus gave of His followers:

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35 KJV)

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