This is a passage I’ve grown up reading and if I’m being honest I have continually skimmed over it. “I am not a hateful person. I like people. It’s easy for me to give people the benefit of the doubt.” These were always my excuses to skip over reading this passage. I was always the exception because I was a “good person.” Let me start by saying I am not the exception. And if you are reading this then you are human therefore you, too, are not the exception—which is awesome. Through this passage Jesus, pretty directly, tells us how to treat others and I don’t know about you but I would love to better love others like Jesus.
It’s easy to know that most actions are almost always followed by a consequence. When we were little, if we did something bad we would get in trouble. If we don’t go to class we would (most likely) not do well on the test. If we punch a wall we will hurt our hand in return. It is always a give and receive. If we do not judge—we, in return, will not be judged. If we forgive—we, in return, will be forgiven. Okay, I can do this to people I love. That’s easy. And that is how I’ve always read this passage. But there’s more. It’s easy to only focused on the people that are easy to love, forgive and trust. But, Jesus says these words directly following the passage about loving our enemies. When thinking about forgiving, loving and not judging the people I don’t like that gets a little bit harder. And that is why time and time again I skim over this message. But just like we are not the exception to reading this passage, our enemies are not the exception of judging, forgiving and giving.
Further He goes on to ask the disciples why is it so easy to look at everyone else and all of their flaws before we take a second to look at or even glance at our own flaws? I just challenge you for a second to ask yourself that question and answer it honestly. Why do we so often get stuck on everyone else’s mistakes? It seems so easy to get caught in everyone else’s life because we don’t want the magnified glass turned back on us. But God is the final judge, not us. As we start to take the planks out of our own eye we will begin to see through the eyes of the Lord. We will begin to clearly see both our best friends and worst friends how the Lord sees them—which is beautiful. We will begin to focus on the inner parts of ourselves and getting them in line with the Lord’s heart and characteristics which will then begin to transform our outer beings.
So while this is sometimes a hard passage to swallow because we don’t like to think that we have any plank or object we have blinding our vision I challenge you to really read and sit on this passage. Where are there areas of your life where you can invite the Lord into? Who are the people in your life that you can invite the lord into change your perspective? Ask Him. He wants to be invited into all of these areas. He wants to transform your thoughts, visions and actions to be more in line with his thoughts, visions and actions.
Lord, I thank you for speaking to our hearts. I thank you that you are God who sees us so clearly and loves us so endlessly. I ask that this week you begin to just soften our hearts. You begin to give us a willing spirit to look into areas or people of our life that we can love better. Whether it is to their face or behind their back that we would always speak life. That we realize that our actions are always followed with consequences. And if we love like you the consequence is bringing life into every situation. That we would be challenged to love everyone like you do. That we would ask you to come into our hearts and transform us. That you would move through us.
- Ashley Gibson