Chapter-a-Day Luke 6

FAIL stamp
Image by hans.gerwitz via Flickr

The religion scholars and Pharisees had their eye on Jesus to see if he would heal the man, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. Luke 6:7 (MSG)

A professor of mine once showed our class a videotape of a locally televised theological debate between himself and another scholar. Both men were from mainstream Christian denominations, but held different views on particular doctrines. The debate became an argument as my professor smugly baited the other scholar, then went on the attack which was subtly personal. The other scholar was shocked, then angry, then became increasingly unglued. After clicking the stop button, my professor chided his opponent for losing his cool and defended his own arrogant attacks on the other scholar. He dismissed his opponent, explaining that the other scholar’s differing theological views made the man’s faith and salvation questionable. My professor’s actions told me that he believed the other scholar was undeserving of his love and respect.

Twenty-five years later I can still remember that class vividly, but I don’t think the lesson I learned was what my professor intended. My professor had a test, a theological checklist, by which he judged others. If you didn’t agree with every minor theological item on his checklist you failed the test, and he felt justified in quickly dismissing you. It seems to parallel the religious scholars who watched for Jesus to fail their own test of appropriate theological behavior. If Jesus failed their test, they could dismiss him and did not feel any obligation to love or respect him.

I’d like to think that I don’t have a test (or tests) of my own. This morning I find myself searching my heart. Jesus didn’t tell me to love only those who pass my test for political correctness, theological correctness or behavioral appropriateness. He makes it pretty clear that those who fail whatever test I might have are to be on the top of my “to love” priority list.

Today, I’m asking God to love everyone well – especially those I might easily dismiss. 

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One thought on “Chapter-a-Day Luke 6”

  1. 26″There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

    Part of human nature is to evaluate and even judge each other. We don’t try to do it, it happens naturally. My wife and I made a decision early in our marriage that we would do as WE determined and felt led and not be concerned with what others thought of us. Does that mean that we never fail? No..there are times we are concerned with how we are perceived. Overall though, we have avoided a lot of hurt feelings and criticism and have even been able to shrug off pointed criticism as a result of this early decision. Our task is to be true….to ourselves and to our God.

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