Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Of motes and men

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Matthew 7:1-2

This is one of those verses that I am wont to quote.  Actually it first struck my heart and mind ever so many years ago when I was the dorkiest seventh-grader ever memorizing the King James version of Matthew because I was on the Bible Quiz State Team for Tennessee.  

However I have been reflecting, meditating, on it yet again for the past twenty-four hours.  What does this really mean, in the darkest corner of my mind that so longs to label and sort and order and yes, even judge every single other person? So I can find myself in the lineup.  

And I often find this same myself using such a very ugly low bar that no one could possibly crawl under it. So quick to point at the mote in my brother’s eye.  

The example floating around in those days to explain the “For all have sinned” bit was the image of all of humanity standing on the beach in Southern California, and needing to swim to Hawaii.  And the old sickly people would drown first, but eventually even the strong and beautiful would die.  No one would make it on his own.  

I sure get that image.  We are all drowning.  In the swirling nightmare of brokenness of the world–the wars, the famine, the injustices, the hatred–the heartbreak of each soul piled high and crying out, Why, Oh LORD God, Why?” 

Why did You have to plant that stupid old fruit tree in the garden in the first place? Why in a world that You declared, “Good” was there the evil to be known? And while I am asking, “Why,” what about that Law? Does the rhyme and rhythm of it really point to a loving and wise God?  Creator of all the Universe? A deep dark line in the sand dividing Us from You?

But maybe, just maybe, I get an occasional glimpse of What is True.  Not as bright and shining as Lewis’ joy. But a glimpse.  A knowing that is beyond our shattered words, shattered since the tower of Babel when Man first challenged God. 

In the secret hollow of my heart, away from the madding crowd, I know Love.  Experience its clarity, its peace, its grace. And if there is nothing outside of this roiling cosmos, from whence did this Comfort come?  And the scientist within knows that if I measure and pour and observe and measure my test tubes here in front of me, I am discovering principles and laws that can be equally measured elsewhere. Principles and laws that govern this universe and describe the forces holding it together. Thus, it is no hard matter to extrapolate this Love tucked within my depths to For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.  

Which leads me back to judging and poking at motes. In while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  And destroyed the Law.  And broke the prison of sin, the knowing of good and evil.  And in His presence, with my eyes fixed on Him, and Him alone, the storm calms.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”


Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”