Tag Archives: Judging others

Worshipping the Baal of Greed

log-eyeLiving in the Spirit
May 23, 2016

Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 18:20-39

So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel. Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ The people did not answer him a word.
–1 Kings 18:20-21

Sound familiar? It should. It accurately describes our world today. The Baal is money and the power it can buy. If we search deep in our souls, we would find that most of us have worshipped at its feet. Its power has oozed through every crevice of our lives. It is probably best reflected in our political systems right now. We cannot put the blame on the politicians for we created them. Demanding that they provide for everything we want without being willing to pay for it. The Common Good has lost all meaning; greed is good.

What passes for morality today is concern about where transgender persons go to the bathroom. According to the New York Times, the best estimate of the number of transgender persons in the USA is about .3% of the population (700,000 people). In 2014, 48.1 million Americans were classified as food insecure most elderly and children; 35 million Americans make less than $10.55 an hour which is well below the living wage requirements but above the minimum wage requirement of $7.25 an hour. Our prisons are currently filled with non-violent offenders, who are disproportionately persons of color with numbers running in the millions. And we are concerned about where people, who probably just want to be left alone, go to the bathroom? Have we lost our moral compass?

It is time for us to turn around and face our own trespasses. Reorganize our priorities and get in synch with the God of love who cares for all the children, adults too, of the world by following Jesus’ example.

Prayer: Lord forgive us for failing to take the log out of our own eye, while being overly concerned about a speck defined by us in our neighbor’s eye. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Judgment

Jesus before sanhedrinLent
March 23, 2016

Scripture Reading: Acts 10:34-43

Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

 I have often wondered where we ever thought we got a say in judging God’s relationship with anyone. Yet we seem to relish the task, casting doubt on people who do not practice the same theology that we practice.

Jesus commanded us to love God and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I think achieving those two tasks will surely take me a full life time leaving me no time to judge anyone else’s beliefs or behaviors. Jesus actually drew the assignment to judge all of us and yet he said to the woman caught in adultery, neither do I judge you, go and sin no more. (John 8:11)

As we experience again the trial of Jesus this week consider what is behind the judgment calls being made about him. They have little to do with his actual actions and much more to do with the threats his actions bring to those judging and the way of life they have chosen to practice. How much of our judging of others is primarily concerned with protecting ourselves?

Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I shy away from loving a neighbor who intimidates me, who I do not understand, who does not fit my way of being. Let your love flow through me to enable me to love the others I encounter along life’s ways just as they are. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

How Do We Judge Others?

Come and SeeEpiphany
Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 17, 2015

 Scripture Reading: John 1:43-51

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’  — John 1:43-46

 How do we judge others? Does it matter to us from where they come? Do we size them up by the clothing they wear, the car they drive, the friends they keep? Is it important how much money they make, property they own, or influence they may have? Can anything good come out of Nazareth?

When I was in high school and college I worked summers at a local chain restaurant. All the waitresses had been instructed to be sure and ask all customers if they wanted a piece of our freshly baked pies. One day I was assigned to work the counter. A man in his late sixties probably, dressed in khakis and a plaid shirt sat down at the counter and said, “I just want a cup of coffee.” As I poured the coffee I asked, “Don’t you want a piece of pie to go with that.” “He said what do you have?” I rattled off a list of all the pies baked that day and he order a piece of pecan pie. He drank his coffee, left me a nice tip, and left the pecan pie untouched. I found out later that he owned the chain and routinely liked to drop in unannounced to check on the service.

One of the greatest challenges God has placed before God’s people is recognizing the worth of every one of God’s children. Not only recognizing but working to assure that each person’s contribution to the Kingdom of God is actualized fully.  This lesson is taught by the example, of Jesus, a son of questionable birth, born to a carpenter, raised in a small unimportant village. He is the Christ, our Savior, Son of God.

Prayer: Lord teach me to respect all your children. Guide me as I work with others with whom I am in synch and with those who see the world differently than I do. Like good music unite us as one, in harmony and in dissonance, as we work together for the realization of your Kingdom here on earth.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.