Pastor’s Desk August 20th

Scripture Passage:  “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that you mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  Luke 6: 37-38

Dear Friends,

     Luke 6:38 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  I think about all the people who have invested in my life and the giving spirit they exhibited.  It seemed that they could not do enough for me.  These same people were faithful to their church, their families and their friends.  The more they gave away, the more the Lord seemed to replenish their account.  A kind, generous person is a rare commodity in today’s society.  The younger generation tends to live with a sense of entitlement.  They are very good at taking what is offered, but tend to forget when the time comes for them to be the donor.  Young couples and young adults live in a materialistic society of cell phones, possessions and maxed out credit-cards. They live from paycheck to paycheck and spend more than they make – on themselves. Many my age live with a sense of limited responsibility.  We feel we have contributed our part to all the social programs and benevolence funds for the needy and it is time for someone else to step up to the plate.  It does not take long for us to become wearied with all the commercials, solicitors, road blocks, and pleas for money.  We tend to be generous with family and friends but stingy with those outside the circle of influence.  We have a good heart, but do not like to be taken advantage of.  We give generously to a worthy cause but struggle with the concept of deadbeats and bums.  The older generation lives on a fixed income and is limited in the amount they have available for donation.  They often do more than they actually can and then have to adjust in some other area to make up the difference.  There is a fine line between selfishness and selflessness and it is often determined by the amount of generosity in our hearts. 

     As I read this passage of Scripture again today I noticed something I had never seen before. Verses 37 and 38 are linked together by a colon.  The definition of a colon is a punctuation mark that separates an introductory clause with the explanation that interprets what is meant.  So for the sake of accuracy, we cannot separate verse 37 and 38 because one explains the other.  It talks of judging and condemning and how we ought to be careful lest those same things be done unto us.  No one likes to be judged and no one likes to be condemned by others.  Those two things should be left to God and the Word of God.  He knows the truth and the condition of the heart, so He alone has all the evidence to judge righteously.  These two verses actually hinge on the words forgiveness and generosity.  We often forget we are just as guilty of the things we judge others for.  We can be quick to judge, but slow to forgive.  Forgiveness is a divine attribute.  I do not believe we have the ability within ourselves to forgive unless God intervenes.  It is easier to judge than it is to forgive or forbear.  We do not have to condone, accept or even agree with others actions, but we do have to forgive.  This passage says that the amount of forgiveness we dole out is the same amount of forgiveness that will be shown to us. Jesus even said that if we did not forgive others, God would not forgive us.  We can choose to be generous in our forgiveness or stingy.  It is up to us, but there will be consequences for our actions.  A person who is truly generous remembers the great things God and others have done for them and lives to pass on the gift.  They hold no grudges and carry no chips.  When we have been forgiven of much, we can forgive generously. When we have been blessed by the generosity of others, it makes it easy for us to be generous.  According to Jesus it is a measure of what is truly found in our heart.

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny