2021_01_25 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- Matthew 7 & 8
I have really loved being able to focus on two chapters a week and have started to read them in different translations to expand my thinking but also to keep my mind from zipping past things I think I already know. As we focus on Matthew 7 and 8 this week, we will read more of Jesus’ teaching that is so practical and simple and yet can be a struggle to incorporate into our lives. I think a major reason that it’s so hard, for me anyway, is that it goes against my human nature. The Bible speaks of the Spirit and the flesh and the struggle between them. Our flesh is our natural state and often the ways of the flesh feel more “normal” than the ways of the Spirit. That’s why I know I have to be so dependent on Jesus.
Matthew 7 begins with Jesus’ teaching about judging others. I have felt this ramp up over the last several months as clear lines have been drawn between those who are “right” and those who are “wrong”. Of course, the sides change depending on who is doing the judging. I like the way The Message says it:
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (Matthew 7:1-5, NLT)
“That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging” – we are in danger of becoming what we judge in others. I see this so often on social media. It plays out like this: I’m going to use harsh words about you and call you out because of the harsh words you said about someone or something else. Because I’m right and you’re wrong. It just goes on and on and on. And we all somehow think we’re in the right. We’re not.
Colossians 4:6 (NLT) says:
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
This comes right after the verse that says that we are to live wisely among unbelievers and make the most of every opportunity we are given to point them to Jesus.
As I’m reading through Matthew, I’m asking myself the question, “How am I doing with this?” It’s humbling because I see lots of room for improvement. I’m grateful that God has promised to finish the work He started (see Philippians 1:6).
Executive Director of Education and Outreach