HOW TO DEAL WITH ENEMIES (PART 3)
“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’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?” Luke 6: 41,42a (The Message).
What is Jesus really getting at? When we forget where we came from and where we were before He touched our lives and set us on a journey to wholeness, we were in darkness, alienated from God with our lives unravelling and in disarray.
When the Holy Spirit opened our eyes and revealed to us that the barrier of sin has been removed and we are reconnected to God, we were brought near and reinstated as children of the Father. All of this happened because of God’s grace. No amount of effort on our part changed our status from slaves to sons, or gave us favour with God.
What credit, then, can we take for the changes that have happened in our lives? All we can produce in our efforts to reach God without His intervention is futile because it is all stained with sin and falls short of His perfection. To adopt an “I-am-better-than-you” attitude is to show contempt for Jesus’ atoning sacrifice through which God accepts us.
How can we point the finger of criticism or judgement on the smudge on our opponent’s life and disregard the filth in our own which Jesus’ pure robe of righteousness has already covered? How hypocritical is that! This kind of treatment of others exposes our real heart attitude – self-righteous pride.
Once again Jesus reveals the Father’s heart by showing His hearers what really ticks God off. He has no problem handling our blunders. Our ignorance, even our wilfulness is covered by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. We continually allow our fallen natures to gain the upper hand but, if we set ourselves up above others and judge them against the standard of ourselves, we are guilty of the pride that the blood of Jesus cannot cover because we are out of unity with God.
When our faces reveal the contempt we feel in our hearts for the smudges we see on someone else’s face, AND WE ARE NOT AWARE OF IT, we are the biggest hypocrites of all. God resists us when we treat people like that. He readily responds when we stand beside our brother and acknowledge that both our faces have stains that only Jesus can cleanse.