“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:1-5
Guilty. As. Charged. I’ve had a giant log in my eye for a long time now. I’ve excused its presence with statements like this:
“I just want everyone to see what I see … to experience the blessings my family and I have experienced since coming to the knowledge He has given to us.”
I’ve shrouded it in prayers that sound something like this:
“Lord, would you open their eyes too? Reveal to them the heart behind why we pursue your Torah so that we can all be on this walk together and be close to one another again. How awesome it would be if we all celebrated Passover and Sukkot together! If we all came together during your feast days each year to celebrate our King Yeshua … as one body! In one accord! If only everyone we know could see and experience this amazing truth!”
Except that I haven’t really been able to see much of anything outside of the pride and judgement covering my own eyes…
Remember my 40 Days of Repentance Series? I admit there’s a part of me that should repent for my heart’s motivation in writing and sharing some of those posts. Because secretly, I hoped “they” were all reading. That “they” were all watching. That “their” hearts would be changed. That “they” would see what I’ve seen.
As if “they” are somehow inferior to me…
I began to ponder this — the log in my eye — after this past week’s message at Founded in Truth. Have I been unintentionally judging others for not seeing as I have seen? For not hearing what I have heard? I prayed:
“Abba, show me where I need to repent in this area. If there is a log in my eye, reveal it to me, and help me remove it. Allow me to see others as you see them.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.” — Psalm 139: 23-24
He answered. Earlier tonight, a person that I love and respect very dearly opened up to me about how he had felt chastised around Jereme and I because of the “new religion we’ve adopted.”
‘The new religion we’ve adopted?’
I responded immediately (in defensive mode, of course):
“It’s not a religion! You don’t know anything about what we believe, because you haven’t bothered to have a conversation with us about it. We haven’t even had the opportunity to talk about it because everyone freaked out when we stopped celebrating Christmas and made a bunch of incorrect assumptions about all the supposedly “Jewish” holidays we now celebrate. We’re the ones who’ve been chastised and alienated, not you!”
It broke my heart. I began sobbing (ugly cry, y’all) as I told myself that “they” were obviously blind and would probably never understand.
Then, not even a few minutes after the conversation had ended, I was talking with Jereme about what had taken place, and it hit me.
Had I done such a poor job of bearing God’s image that all people see when they look at me is someone who has simply “adopted a new religion?” A new religion is surely not what Jesus came to establish…
Mark 1 tells the story of a leper being healed:
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” He *said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” — Mark 1:35-39
It seems that Jesus was very intentional about the moves he made and the places he went, because he had a specific purpose for which he came. The passage continues:
“And a leper *came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, and He *said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.” — Mark 1: 40-45
Oftentimes, in our zeal, we want to immediately proclaim what He has done for us. We want to shout it to the masses from the rooftops (or in our case, on Facebook). However, that’s not always necessarily what we should do. In fact, our feeble attempts at sharing the Gospel to help His cause could actually serve to hinder His purpose, especially if our hearts are not pure.
“Father, give us discernment to know when to speak and when to shut up.”
For the last two years, since we came into this “understanding” — (I’m honestly not sure what else to call it, since “Hebrew Roots” and “Messianic Movement” have garnered such negative connotations) — I’ve been “playing God.”
By believing that I had obtained a wealth of such profound knowledge concerning the blessings of His Torah, I’ve inadvertently assumed His position. But instead of doing what He would do, instead of bearing His image as we are so called, and loving those around me who have a different understanding, I’ve managed to dismiss them as blind — “unable to see the truth.” (Meanwhile, all those passive-aggressive Facebook memes about keeping the Sabbath and eating clean foods don’t seem to have done their job…)
Yes, some would argue that Jesus said we are to judge righteously (John 7:24). But the question then becomes, what is “righteous” judgment? If our own hearts and intentions are not pure — if we ourselves are not righteous — do we really have the authority to judge at all?
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;” — Romans 3: 9-11
Moreover, what is the true nature of our hearts in sharing with others all of the things that God has shown us? Is it that we genuinely want the people we love to experience the blessings of having a relationship with the King of Heaven and Earth? And if so, are we assuming that they haven’t, and thereby passing judgment on them?
Have we inadvertently assumed the position of our adversary — “the Accuser” instead of the One who “is for us, not against us”? The One whose image we are called to bear…
All this time, I thought people were making assumptions about me. But perhaps it was really me doing the assuming … it was really me “playing God.”
And perhaps it was this realization deep within myself that brought on all of those tears I cried tonight.
Guilty. As. Charged. But thankful that Jesus paid the price.