Friday, October 9, 2020
One of the easiest things human nature does is to judge others by appearances. We form immediate opinions about people based on first impressions. We categorize people into classifications of “Acceptable” and “Unacceptable.” We instinctively tell others how wrong they are. We thoughtlessly and unsympathetically point out people’s faults. Humanity would do well to look beyond the faults to the cause of the faults with a desire to understand. If only we would learn to look for what drives and invokes the joy, slothfulness, or the melancholy in people. Until we become aware of the real vision, aspirations, desires, and the needs of others, we will continue to criticize.
In the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus proclaims a spiritual principle that is based on a miracle He performed six months to a year earlier. On the Sabbath Day, He had healed a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. He starts by asking two questions.
John 7:19 “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”
Question number one – Are you dedicated to obeying the spiritual laws given to you? Jesus answers this question for them. NO! Your actions prove that you are dedicated to serving yourself with the law, not to serving God. There’s real truth in this question for us today. Has not God given us His commands, precepts, and principles so that we might serve Him with pure hearts? Have we not chosen which spiritual principles serve our own interests and discard the rest? Do we not live our lives according to the flesh with only an appearance of spiritual sensitivity?
Question number two – Why do you seek to eliminate me? Have you become so convinced that your ways are higher than my ways that you want to eliminate the threat I pose to your comfort zones? Have you become so enamored with the ways of the world and your own gratification that you would actually seek to remove Jesus from having any influence in your life? Has the power of self-serving religion become so important to you that you believe Jesus is a danger to true spiritual life? Do you really believe that Jesus is the law-breaker and you are the law-keeper?
Both of these questions are relevant to our lives today, and according to what Jesus asks next, they are rooted in the nature of man to judge by appearances.
John 7:23-24 “If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Two points to ponder this weekend.
- Do you consider Jesus to be a threat to your chosen way of life?
- Do you judge others by appearances and potential personal benefit rather than with right judgement that seeks to know their heart?
Jesus declared an eternal spiritual principle in this passage: Understand the spirit of the law before enforcing the letter of the law. Let’s apply that to how we treat people as we seek to understand the spirit of the person before enforcing behavior standards on them.