Sep. 16, 2017

Cross Purposes 16 / How Do I Judge Thee? Let Me Count The Ways!

There’s an undercurrent among some who may regard themselves as more “useful” than others whom they consider “useless”. This is the new “in crowd” – the we-do-wells versus those regarded as the ne’er-do-wells. The latter are considered by the former as “useless eaters” – the homeless, handicapped, elderly, chronically ill, mentally challenged, prisoners, welfare recipients, unemployed, unborn, or even “starving” artists, musicians, writers, and the like. Any who do not model the acceptable cog in the wheels of “society” are to be put in the Not OK Corral. They are inconvenient expendables in a world of convenient disposability.

What’s even more surprising is the sudden awareness that you’re tainted with that same attitude yourself! It may be subtle. You may be good at not saying anything condemning, but the attitudes and thoughts of self superiority are there nonetheless. At the moment of self awareness, all the scenes in your life flash before your eyes where you have aimed this condemnation at someone.

You discover yourself shut out as you have shut out others, once again being reminded by the Holy Spirit that what goes around comes around. You wake up to discover another layer of repentance that needs to go into effect – self to be reckoned dead and buried in the Passion of the Lord.

Yes, Virginia, there is a “life review”. In fact, there can be many life reviews giving us the insight to be able to walk out of death into new life… And you don’t have to be clinically dead to experience them. However, what the Holy Spirit discloses in such moments is that this self righteousness is more aligned with the mind of the Accuser than Christ’s Heart.

Philippians 2: 3-5 directs, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”

We’re directed to allow the Mind of Jesus to become our mind! It’s a “no brainer” – finite, mortal mind must be supplanted by the immortal infinite Mind of Christ, the unconditionally compassionate Fullness of the Godhead walking about here in space and time as the Jesus in you and me.

What is His attitude toward those condemned by society and religious hypocrite alike as “useless”? [Or even that person who rubs us the wrong way.] I’m not fond of cliches, but “WWJD?” Check Matthew 25:40 and surrounding verses for clues. This bears real prayer, contemplation, and being faced with God’s Mind on the matter.

Our words, and consequently our effect on others and on life in general, begin in our attitudes and thoughts.

The following quote pertaining to this came across my desk earlier. No coincidence there!

“In speaking to our neighbor we have a powerful but dangerous instrument at our command. By speaking only truth we use it for our own and others’ blessedness. By speaking falsehood we hide ourselves from peace and happiness, for every word we speak goes forth only to come back with double the power with which we sent it forth. A true word is twice blessed: it blesses him who gives and him who receives, and more, for it returns to the giver with an added blessing. 

“This instrument of health and disease is the tongue. A great deal has been said of it by scripture writers. James calls it “a little member, but a fire and world of iniquity: an unruly evil full of poison,” and says no man can tame it. He was speaking of mortal man and was quite right, for mortal man never has tamed the tongue. It has been and is a source of evil themselves” as David predicted. Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

[Hopkins, Emma Curtis (2011-09-04). Spiritual Law In The Natural World (pp. 94-95). ECH Theological Association, Inc.. Kindle Edition.]  

(This writer is not a Christian Science practitioner. However what E.C. Hopkins says here is, in my opinion, scripturally sound principle.) 

The truth we need to “speak” is the Mind of God about every Soul (the attitude of Christ), not our opinion. Our programmed opinions are a combination of self’s perspectives, that of the world’s systems’ programming [including family, peers, education, religion and the like], and even the Accuser himself.

“Speaking” can mean simply communication. It can be conveyed through thought, or a look in our eye, or body language. We can exclude others with a glance! We don’t always have to speak or write what we’re thinking to get the point across.

This is one of the dangers of the popular attitude, “I can do anything I want. As long as I’m on my property and minding my own business, I’m not hurting anyone.” This view only includes the physical and outer levels of reality. How false and conveniently limited this popular view is!

Are we “minding” our own business when we are thinking in the most unkind manner toward anyone else, judging, condemning, planning how to get even?

Here’s how Jesus addresses this in Matthew 5:21, 22.Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Jesus’ view was far stricter and all encompassing than the Law dealing with external realities. [See also Matthew 5:18-20 preceding these verses.]

The term “raca” is an Aramaic word meaning “empty head” or “good for nothing”. And how often do we allow ourselves the luxury of perceiving others this way, if “only” in thought or attitude?

In the New American Standard Bible “hell fire” is also referred to as the “fiery hell” or “Gehenna of fire” -  referring to a place outside Jerusalem in which the people burned their sons and daughters in the fire as part of the worship of Moloch – human sacrifice in the days of “that ol’ time religion” to appease blood thirsty demigods.

There is a severity in consequences in terms of “burning” that goes with an attitude of being judgmental that is difficult to comprehend. What a frightening metaphor the Son of God chooses here!

If we by attitude, thought, word, or deed are also in essence throwing the “little ones” – judged as useless or good for nothing – into the fire of burning thought, then what kind of crop shall we reap by such sowing, especially if we claim the Holy Name that has forgiven, redeemed, and restored us to walk as He walked, and to be as He was in this world?

Being a Christian does not stop with easy belief, ritual substituted for reality, or Grace taken for granted. It means “being Jesus” in the here and now through the power of the Holy Spirit.