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Planks and Perspectives

16 Apr

Easter is such an important time to remember we serve a RISEN Lord and Savior.  Not only that, but the same Lord and Savior who died for us also lived and taught us some very valuable lessons.  Today, I want you to hear one of them.

We have this amazing knack at looking at someone else and determining if they are rich or poor, nice or not, pretty or not so much, educated or not, smell good or not and whether or not this is someone we want to associate with…it happens in a split second and we don’t even have to think much about it

Christians get an extra ability – we can detect if they are one of us or one of them (Christian or non-Christian)…After all, we were given the ability to take an assessment of someone else, right? 

To top it all off, we can even give an assessment of fellow Christians.  We can look at a brother and sister and tell you if they are doing something wrong or right…whether they are acting like a Christian or not…whether they are dressed like a Christian or not…whether they talk like a Christian or not…

We have it all down pat, don’t we?  We have this great system of assessing others…after all, it helps us to know who we want to be in church with…

You may be sitting there thinking about how I have lost my mind or agreeing that this is just the way it is…Unfortunately, what I have mentioned is too close to the actual truth and everything I just described is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught you and me.

But, you may be thinking about how you have to assess others so that you don’t get taken advantage of…you have to stay on guard.  We don’t want to be naïve, do we?  The enemy is out there and we don’t want to be overtaken by the enemy…

What I am saying is that we spend so much time assessing others that we can’t even see that what we are doing is worse than we could have ever imagined.  I will explain, first by going to the Word.  Matthew 7:1-5

What is Jesus saying?  Our assessments really are simply JUDGING! 

Before you shut down, ignore me, or worry about what you are going to eat when I decide to hush, there are three things I need you to hear.  These three things God wanted me to hear and I needed to hear, so I want you to take a moment for me to share them with you:

1 – We spend so much time judging others that we don’t ever take a look at ourselves.  It is interesting at how we can point out the faults in others very quickly, but have an extremely difficult time seeing our own.

If someone dare mention something we need to work on, we are offended and put off.  How dare they judge me?  Or we retaliate by telling them what they have done wrong.  If someone points out a sin, instead of taking it in and learning from it, we decide how bad they are as sinners…

What are we thinking?  We can point out that speck when in reality, we have a plank the size of Mt Everest that in our own eye that we don’t even notice.  We are uncomfortable talking about ourselves.  The speck Jesus is taking about is just a small piece of something, not hardly visible – but still important.  But we have a perspective which isn’t capable of helping a brother or sister out with the speck because of the plank in our own eye.  The plank…the equivalent of a major beam of a house or a major floor board.  Do you get the sense of what He is trying to tell us?

We have no problem looking at someone who doesn’t have a lot and judging how they spend their money on the things they do…but I challenge you to look at your own checkbook at see if you are giving your tithe to God…You aren’t just making bad decisions, you are robbing God!

We have no problem in evaluating others actions and reactions by what we think a Christian should do, but never have checked to make sure those actions we are so loudly professing as Christians really actually reflect that which is in the Bible.

We have no problem talking about what others profess to believe which seems off kilter – how could they ever believe this or that, but we never really try to learn what we really believe.  We are just going by what someone else told us many times.

Maybe we should take a look at ourselves and that plank…what is it doing to us?

2 – If we spend time judging others, we will miss an opportunity to see Jesus.

It is easy to look at those who are poor and say that if they would just…

It is easy to look at those who don’t have a job and tell them to go to McDonalds. 

It is easy to look at those who sit at home because they are emotionally destroyed and tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get out.

It is easy to evaluate another’s position in life by our standards.  But the fact is, we are not looking from the right perspective.

What we may not know is that the person who is poor is working three jobs just to make ends meet and doing way more than we ever would to make it. 

What we may not know is that the person who is living on the streets and doesn’t have a job can’t get a job at a fast food restaurant because fast food restaurants don’t hire homeless people who haven’t bathed in quite a while.

What we don’t know is that the person who is at home has been beat down in life to the point that they don’t see a way out and can’t face the world because they have been abused and neglected all their life and they feel this is their lot in life.

Problem is that our perspective is so skewed that we don’t bother to talk to the person who is poor because they aren’t like us…

We don’t bother to show the love of Christ to the person who stays at home because we think they are a lazy bum…

We don’t bother to show the love of Christ to those in the world because we have decided that they aren’t Christians and we don’t have time for them…

Problem is that because there are people who will take advantage of the kindness of others, and people who will steal from you right before your eyes, and people who are only out to do evil…that we shut our doors and shut our hearts to those who really are hurting and really are in need.

If we don’t help others because of our warped perspective of the world, then we have not helped the least of these…and thus not helped Jesus.

Warning…you might get taken advantage of…but if you don’t ever make an effort so that you are not ever taken advantage of, how many people have you turned your back on…not showing the love of Christ…just so someone doesn’t get over on you for a few dollars?

Am I telling you to be naïve?  Am I telling you to give all you have randomly and without thinking?  No…Jesus doesn’t say that either. 

But what I am saying is that if we don’t ever give anything because there are people out there who truly only want to take advantage of you, we won’t ever show the love of Christ.   If we give with a pure heart and to glorify God, and we come together as God’s people…you might find that God takes care of His own.  As Chris has often said…God takes care of His kids.  Don’t shut everyone out because there is evil in the world!

3 – What if your eyes – how you see things, how you value things – were used to judge you and your actions.  Do you want to be judged through your eyes? 

We can immediately say that Jesus has compassion and forgiveness and He died on the cross for us.  He does.  He also doesn’t say that He will use your eyes.  But, He said in this scripture today that if you judge, the same way you judge others will be used to judge you.  At some point, the way we look at others and judge others will be used to judge you.

That makes me take an account real quick…

Jesus is saying that my eyes could be used on me…I may see myself one way, but the way I see others is quite different. 

This is a lot to take in at one time.  What I want you to do today is begin to take the scales off of your blinded judgmental eyes…one layer at the time.  Jesus needs you and me to get up and do something about a lost and dying world.  Jesus needs us to do more than make an assessment of others.  Jesus needs us to get to work, just like He taught us to…

Will you be like Jesus?

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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