(This is the seventh installment of The Awesomeness Conspiracy’s 2015 Lenten devotional on the Sermon on the Mount. Follow us to receive e-mail updates for each new post.)
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while 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 neighbor’s eye.
Love your enemies. Treasure what God treasures. Pray for love.
Their worldview was fully unraveled now. This was Israel. Chosen nation. God’s own people.
Tied together by legal codes that specified who was and was not in God’s favor.
It was all about getting from out to in. From unclean to clean. From excluded to included.
These were things worth fretting over.
But even this, Jesus says, is not as it seems.
Why worry? Isn’t God in charge? Either he is or he isn’t. See these birds? They work, but only to be what God made them to be. See these flowers? Each one beautiful, not because it chose to be beautiful, but because God created it beautiful.
You are blessed. From the highest and greatest to the lowest and least. Blessed.
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Righteousness. There’s that word again. Not the righteousness of the Pharisees, of the law-enforcers, the status-quo-protectors.
The righteousness of God.
Anger, contempt, indulgence. Objectification. Dehumanization. Condemnation.
Splinters and logs.
You must see others for who they are. Created by, loved by, cared for by the One who created, loves, and cares for you.
Condemnation blinds. Only love can see.
It was all so hard to hear. So hard to accept.
Particularly, perhaps, for those most threatened by it.
Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.
This Kingdom is dangerous. Love is dangerous.
But if even the Pharisees and teachers of the law have missed the point, how then could these outcasts and misfits access this love Jesus proclaims?
Ask. Seek. Knock.
It cannot come from human will alone. Only God has that power.
But God, it seems, is willing to share it with his children.
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One! Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your strength.
And love your neighbor as yourself.
This is it! This is the law!
Love God fully. Love others fully.
Trust God, pray to God, to give you power where you have none. To see as God sees.
Not through eyes of distrust or condemnation or judgment.
But through eyes full of the light of love.