“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The logjam in my eye

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:3-5).

Have you ever seen a log sticking out of someone’s eye as he walks down the street with his briefcase? How about an I-beam? How about a toothpick? I never have. That’s the power of Christ’s doctrine. Jesus exaggerated; but, it was profound, wise, holy exaggeration. How can we miss His point? A log in someone’s eye! How preposterous! Funny!

I’ve never had a log protruding from my eyeball, but I have had the most microscopic dust particle or metal shaving in my eye. And oh, how that did feel like a log or an I-beam! Not funny and no fun!! “Don’t you laugh at this!” How about you?! Yes, we’ve all been there; and that’s why Christ’s lessons are still applicable today.

Secular society also uses the method of exaggeration to make a point. Everyone knows about the big, white elephant that stands in the living room (or the church or the workplace, the job site, sometimes the public square, etc.) That elephant represents an obvious issue among those present in the group, a problem that needs to be dealt with.

So, that was Jesus’ point of the log. Sin, no matter how minute is painful; the wages of the smallest sin is death. Sin equals destruction, whether a quick kill or a slow death. And even if I try to ignore my fault, that big white elephant is still apparent to everyone else around, who, out of fear, may avoid my needed reproof and correction, lest they be rejected or charged with cruelty or political uncorrectness. But, is it cruel to allow a parasite to persist in the host that it is killing? No, it’s a mercy to tell the person the truth. “Brother, Sister, Friend, you have a parasite living in you that is eating you up.
Maybe he was in denial. Maybe she didn’t have the moral strength to own up to her danger. An outside opinion was the key to deliverance. No smart doctor will diagnose himself or herself. Why? Because he/she will likely go easy on the diagnosis/prognosis. When life is at stake, its best to get an objective, truthful opinion. In danger, truth is the only thing that is merciful if it is spoken in love and due consideration. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:1,2).

The medium of teaching that Jesus used was unique to the Jews who had become rigid and bound down in a narrow view of reality. Jesus broadened truth into everyday life. He took it off the scholar’s formula sheets and brought it out to see the light of day. Abraham Lincoln, though not a professed Christian (but whose honesty and genuineness made him more Christian than most Christians), was fascinated by Jesus’ mastery of teaching by storytelling, and he loved to read the gospel parables because he too was a story teller. Mr. Lincoln understood the power of stories and allegories, of subtleties and innuendos. He was a little rough around the edges, but Abe was a gem of a human, and a true product of the Protestant Reformation, and of true education. Like Nebuchadnezzar, he had a heart of gold and a mind of silicon.

Mr. Lincoln had learned from the Master Teacher, whose only instructor was God. Notice that the only wise God did not give His Son a classical education. Neither Jesus nor John received a classical education, even if it might have been rabbinic one, or they could not have done the work which the Lord needed to be accomplished. Anyone who gets a classical education loses most, if not all, of his faith. No one comes out of today’s schools and colleges without his faith suffering for the rest of his life. He will limp all of his days, trying to regain the precious faith he lost to ravenous, demonic human philosophy. For the ones who care nothing about eternity, they may get the high-paying job, or the position of power, but they have recused themselves right out of heaven.

Through all time, the best educated are normally the most abusive to people. Historically, the masses were prevented from any education in order to keep them servants of the well-educated. The higher that one travels up the world’s organization because of the better classical education he receives, and the deeper his knowledge of “the mysteries”, the less he is required to serve others, and the more others must serve him. When he gets to the very top, then the fallen human nature gets what it has yearned and hungered for all its career—complete ease and no work, a ring on every finger and ruby red slippers in the feet, and every carnal whim satisfied. But, this is the opposite of the kingdom of heaven, where the least are the greatest and the highest leader is servant of all. This is why the simplest, who are considered fools by today’s standards, have been the pool from which God has always picked His great men.

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” (1Cor. 1:26-28).

It was without a classical education that Abe Lincoln shot to the top of the world. Surely he desired a classical education; but, thankfully God used poverty to protect him from that. America would never have survived the assault made by the Papacy with their thesis-antithesis-synthesis scheme to divide and conquer America in the American Civil War had it not been for God working with His servant to lead this nation away from self-destruction.

It was without the pollution of human traditions that Abe had gained a love of the truth and eschewed the pleasures of unrighteous power. His peers were college grads and could not compete with the simple-hearted Abe. And God worked out his success by wisdom humbly gained through precepts and by opportunities confidently obtained through providences. No doubt, his God-fearing mother, who read the Bible to her son and prayed for him, had much to do with that great President’s teachings and his effectiveness for good.

The Master, whose only teacher was God had also learned at His mother’s knee. But, this was different, because He often had to correct her misconceptions and advice and recommendations and allowances which were being influenced by His religious atheistic brothers. “For neither did His brethren believe in Him.” (John 7:5).

God was His Son’s teacher. His doctrine was so much more powerful than anything the people had ever known or that people would ever know. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:28,29).

“And when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?” (Matt. 13:54).

“And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this Man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15).

“And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s Son?” (Luke 4:22).
“The officers answered, Never man spake like this Man.” (John 7:46).

But, what about Jesus’ lesson about the log in the eye, Take the log out of your own eye and you will be able to see clearly to take the dust speck out of someone else’s eye?

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2Cor. 13:5). Being reprobate means being bound for damnation; it means perdition. It results in complete rejection by the eternal Judge. That should put the fear of God in every Christian. I need to examine my faith. Is it sincere or faked? Or am I feigning it?

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1Tim. 1:5). “And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 3:9,10).

Am I faking my relationship with God? Is my personal religion only a hollow profession? Is it what it started out as, or has it grown lukewarm over the years?
Do I still desire to see others know the love of God and be converted citizens of the heavenly kingdom? Am I falling away, like so often recorded the Bible? Are my eyes glazed over when I read the scriptures?

“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.” (2Cor. 3:14,15). Is this my condition?

We do self-assessments of our job performance. We do self-examinations to catch diseases early in their growth. Breast and testicular cancer are very common in America and can be noticed if we would examine our bodies. When we hike in the woods, it’s a good idea to search for ticks. A whole body frisking for even a single tick is not a bad idea or we could get Lyme’s disease, a slow, debilitating, miserable affliction. When health and life are at stake, don’t we do what we need to do, even if it’s inconvenient? Yes, we do, even if it takes time and effort.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul [and health]? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul [and his health]?” (Matt. 16:26). So, the issues of where we stand are utterly essential to keep tabs on, whether it’s our physical health, mental health, emotional health, or our connection with our Creator and Redeemer. We cannot go into a stupor on self-examinations, not for a minute.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8).
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:35-37).

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Gal. 6:4).

Let’s get that log out of our own eye. It doesn’t belong there. God didn’t create us with a log in our eye, therefore the log is a foreign object and destructive. We have an active part in its removal. When we get a splinter in our skin, do we just lay around, waiting for the splinter to come out? Our Creator gives us plenty of incentive to be proactive in its removal—it hurts!

Shouldn’t the log in our eye hurt? Yes, that will let us know it is there. It’s hurting, but are we feeling the pain? Did we down a bottle of denial or drop a drug of bliss to ignore the pain? But, if we did, then we are ignoring the foreign body in our eye and the bacteria that it is bringing. It is causing our eye to weaken in the battle to fend off the invader. But, we can keep drinking the whiskey because its easier and a quicker fix and it doesn’t cause us the pain that we know we will get when we pull out the bigger-than-life dust speck from our eye or the splinter under our skin.

And let’s get that log out of our own eye first. Jesus says that if I get out my gigantically painful dust speck, then I will know how to help others remove theirs. I will have learned the correct method of log removal because I learned in the highly exacting school of hard knocks. Did I use a log roller or a shovel on my precious eye? Did I even use tweezers to remove my painful dust speck? Or a toothpick? Never in a million years! I was careful to be so cautious with my only one of two eyes that I gently used a piece of tissue paper.

Ah ha! Now, I have learned to not come against my dearly beloved neighbor with tweezers or a toothpick or a log roller or a shovel or a bulldozer! I will be gentle, cautious, careful, just like a doctor who has sworn the Hippocratic Oath. When I go to “help” my brother, I will work like a physician who can be sued for negligence. God is watching and He is the great Judge.

So, I will love my neighbor as myself.

(This is my note to self: “Physician, heal thyself.” (Luke 4:23). “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). Dear Lord, save me from myself. I only know enough to be dangerous.)


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