Don’tcha Think?

I got to talking to my husband the other night, about what I have now forgotten, save for one thing that has stuck with me.  Allow me to preface my comments with the following passage from Matthew, as it sets the context for my thoughts.

Matthew 25: 31-46 (ESV)…

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,  then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him  will be gathered  all the nations, and  he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates  the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then  the King will say to  those on his right, ‘Come, you  who are blessed by my Father,  inherit  the kingdom  prepared for you  from the foundation of the world. 35 For  I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you  gave me drink,  I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me,  I was sick and you  visited me,  I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And  the King will answer them,  ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these  my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left,  ‘Depart from me, you  cursed, into  the eternal fire prepared for  the devil and his angels. 42 For  I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these,  you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away  into eternal punishment, but the righteous  into  eternal life.”

The specifics of our conversation are gone from me now, though I wish I could reconstitute them here, as they lend some depth to the following question:

If engaging in acts of kindness toward others, especially to “the least of these,”
is the same as doing so for Christ,
and not doing those same things is the same as failing to do so for Christ,
would it not follow that  engaging in acts of hostility and unkindness toward others
would equate to the same regarding Christ?

For example…

  • Refusing repent a wrong and seek forgiveness?
    Would that not be the same as refusing to confess a sin to God and seek forgiveness and reconciliation?
  • Refusing to grant forgiveness to someone who sincerely apologized and made restitution?
    Wouldn’t that be the same as God refusing to grant forgiveness and reconciliation to a sincere confession, or (even worse) putting yourself in the role of God?
  • Writing someone off as unworth any effort on your part?
    Is this not the same as rejecting God?
  • Treating others as though they are inferior to you, judging others more harshly than yourself?
    Isn’t this equivalent to the Pharisee’s public prayer in the temple, thanking God that he is not like other (more sinful) sinners?

It seems to me that if we choose to write others off, closing the door to any chance of reconciliation, then it is tantamount to turning our backs on Christ.  We are not to be the judges of who is or is not worthy.  We are called to forgive as he forgives.  We are called to love as Christ loves us.  We are called to live our lives to the Glory of God, and to not be an impediment to others striving to do so alongside of us.  We are called to follow hard after Christ, to live a life representative of Him, to humble ourselves before Him.  We are called not to be Pharisees.

Hard to hear.  Harder to do, especially when I recognize in myself those pharisaical tendencies.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Don’tcha Think?

  1. Refusing (to) repent a wrong and seek forgiveness? I would say yes.

    Refusing to grant forgiveness to someone who sincerely apologized and made restitution? I would say yes in most cases. However, how do you know the sincerity? From a Christian viewpoint, when do you know when the person is sincere, or when the devil is at work?

    Writing someone off as unworth any effort on your part? This one I think depends why you would write someone off. If it is for petty little things, then yes. But if it is for something that is keeping you from living a Christian life…

    Treating others as though they are inferior to you, judging others more harshly than yourself? Your last sentence sums this one up very well in many situations.

    • If it’s me doing the apologizing, I know myself to be sincere, so encountering the Pharisee is discouraging.

      I keep reminding myself that when I truly seek to live in a way that glorifies God, it must cease to matter what other’s do…but the judgy snark in me keeps getting in the way. Laying that burden down is extraordinarily difficult, and I think to some extent because it becomes an idol that is more important than God.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

Comments rock. Please leave yours!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s