1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you. 3 Why do you see the splinter that’s in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother or sister, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when there’s a log in your eye? 5 You deceive yourself! First take the log out of your eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the splinter out of your brother’s or sister’s eye. 6 Don’t give holy things to dogs, and don’t throw your pearls in front of pigs. They will stomp on the pearls, then turn around and attack you.
7 “Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened. 9 Who among you will give your children a stone when they ask for bread? 10 Or give them a snake when they ask for fish? 11 If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. 12 Therefore, you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you; this is the Law and the Prophets.
13 “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. 14 But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.
Matthew (Luke too—cf. Luke 6:31) said Jesus taught “the Golden Rule” (“you should treat people in the same way that you want people to treat you”). Scholar William Barclay noted the breadth of Jesus' command: “The attitude which says, ‘I must do no harm to people’ is quite different from the attitude which says, ‘I must do my best to help people.’” * “Don’t judge” did not mean we should not evaluate people’s actions, especially harmful ones, but as we do, we must remember our limited knowledge.
Lord Jesus, keep me healthily aware of my strengths while still being able to honestly “take the log out of [my] eye” before trying to correct or “improve” others. Amen.
During Lent, we have a weekly video that will help you reflect on the key themes from Words that Changed the World: The Message of Jesus. Pastor Cheryl Bell leads us through this week's video. Click here to watch it on YouTube (or click on the image below).
* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 1 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 276.
** Danielle Shroyer, reflection on Matthew 7 in The CEB Women’s Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2016, p. 1221.
Having recently returned from the Resurrection trip to the Holy Land & sat on a hillside where the Sermon on the Mount may have been preached, today’s GPS is going to read more like a Fodor’s Travel Guide than the traditional insight you typically expect. (This insight & “traditional” have never appeared in the same sentence – Editor.)
Aside: After touring the 5th box/container factory, we realized we should have read the fine print about the “Complete Package Tour.”
The Holy Land is often referred to as the 5th Gospel; seeing the places where Jesus walked & taught can allow the traveler to be immersed in His life - not just read about them. But this trip is so much more than “Who, What, Where, & When.” I fully expected experiencing several “God-moments” that stirred my faith like renewing my baptism by being fully immersed in the Jordan River, or praying at the Western Wall, or touching the rock at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – the place where Jesus is believed to have died on the cross.
However, in hindsight, traveling around the Holy Land permeates your entire spiritual walk – from Bible reading to rituals like communion to hymns. It’s as though your entire faithwalk is amped with steroids. Here are just a few examples:
Aside: Not all GPS monitors are the same. Unfortunately, we had a rather cheap version. Its directions were simply, “You’re getting warmer, warmer. Wait. Now you are cold, cold, cold!”
Singing the lyrics “…sweetly singing o’er the plains & the mountains in reply” while looking over the fields where it is believed the shepherds were tending their flocks the night of Jesus’ birth will forever impact the familiar hymn, “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
Aside: TSA Agent: “Sir, why do you have a stick in your luggage?” “I always fly with my travel log.”
Crossing the Sea of Galilee one could easily envision Jesus on a boat looking at the same shorelines & experiencing the same breezes & sunny weather. When Pastor Adam shared a Pastoral prayer for one of our fellow-travelers who had been injured, I closed my eyes & readily imagined Jesus, Himself, pausing to share a similar prayer for a woman He may have seen on the shoreline or who was experiencing some physical suffering.
Hearing Rabbi Art Nemitoff discuss the significance of the Passover celebration while we were standing in the Upper Room where some scholars believe Jesus shared the Last Supper tweaked my perception of that evening from just a powerful coda for Jesus’ time with His Disciples to a continuation of God’s story of caring for His children.
Listening to the hustle & bustle of the city of Jerusalem while in the Garden of Gethsemane, one couldn’t help but experience the total abandonment & despair of Jesus as He prayed, “Not My will, but Thine.” He, too, would have heard all commotion as people went about their Passover celebrations, with them never realizing that just a few yards away the Son of God was spending His last earthly night in agony. It is a humbling reminder to never take His love & His sacrifice for granted nor let our day-to-day routines distract us from our faithwalk.
The trip also reacquainted us with old friends & formed new life-long friendships. When you chat about spiritual questions & faith-based experiences at each meal, it can be like cramming a years’ worth of small group conversations/gatherings into 10 days.
Finally, today’s passage, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged,” hits completely differently after standing in the pit where Jesus is believed to have been held that fateful Thursday night/Friday morning while the religious leaders bickered over His fate. One can’t help but think of all the erroneous snap judgments, faulty 1st impressions, & jumping to conclusions we’ve done through the years. The “experts” got one of the biggest questions of the day wrong 2,000 years ago & we haven’t improved much since then.
So, what might this journal of memories & moments mean for us today?
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to set up the screen, projector & fill 9 carousels with my 458 slides to show our boys this weekend. (And they thought the movie, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” was a long movie. They ain’t seen nothing yet.)
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
Can’t find something? Let us help.
Call the Leawood Campus office at (913) 897-0120, or email using the form below.