Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Easier Said…

Maybe it comes with age…but for some time now I’ve tried to better weigh my words as a Bible teacher. I’m aware that we can’t always qualify our words…in the interest of time or because of circumstances we are not always free to do so. But…whenever we can, I’m leaning toward the idea that we should. For instance, one day a young man named Joseph left home on an errand from his father. He had no idea that it would be twenty-two years before he would see his father again. In a few brief sentences I may talk of that young man of faith…of his dreams…of how he held on to them and to right-living when no one was watching. I may rush to the happy scene of re-union with his father and show how his dreams were all fulfilled. And all of that is true. But it’s not the whole truth, is it? Twenty-two years are made up of 8030 days that Joseph had to get through…away from home, sold as a slave, wondering why his brothers didn’t end their cruel joke and then wondering why his father didn’t come looking for him, life as a slave, wrongfully accused, life as a prisoner, thinking about how far he seemed from his dreams now. And every one of those 8030 days had a matching night connected to them. What did he think about through those long nights? How did his heart yearn? Did he ever think, “If this is how I am rewarded for trying to do right, what’s the point?” Well, he was human wasn’t he? But he didn’t ultimately give in to such thoughts. Twenty-two years! It’s not right to continually pass over them with a sentence or two…or to say, “Well, Joseph just did what he should have done!” It’s not fair to Joseph. We don’t adequately assess this young man of God if we do that.

To fairly judge the life of a person, we need to know more than what they said or did. We need to have an idea of what they were up against. Did they fail in some way? Yes? Okay! That’s bad. We are not happy about that. We hoped for better…and had a right to. BUT, how hard and how long did the person struggle against the wrong before they fell? What pressures were they facing? What went wrong in them or in their lives leading up to the wrong committed? To accept that the wrong a Christian does is the “whole” story of their life may not be correct at all. And if we truly care, we will try to look into it with an open heart. I’m not saying the wrong is to be accepted or looked over…I’m asking how are we going to treat the sinning Christian? The answer to that question surely hangs upon more than their sin. It is perilously easier to say something than to think about it first.

Our Lord looked at three tired disciples on that terrible night in Gethsemane. He was needing their help, and they were needing to give it. It was in His best interest and theirs that they watch and pray. They didn’t get it done. But Jesus doesn’t simply condemn them for their poor performance. He credits them with having willing spirits but weak flesh. He didn’t throw them over. He continued to work on them and in them. And the rest is…as they say…history.

As we read our Bibles and as we work with other humans who fail just as much as we ourselves do, let’s try not to be simplistic. Let’s be patient enough to look a little deeper…to think for a moment about what it would be like for us if we had been there or if we had been them. Sometimes it’s all bad news. I know that. But sometimes we make it worse than it has to be. And sometimes we miss the heroism there may be even in failure. May we learn to look with Christ’s eyes and heart. May we remember that we are not God and cannot possibly take everything into account that God does. Then…let us respond accordingly. What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Easier Said…

  1. Uncle John on said:

    AMEN brother! We are a people who are quick to judge why and why not with such blah, blah, blah comments…instead of being slow to speak and thoughtful of others. Good thoughts.

  2. oakesclan on said:

    Thanks for checking in, John. I figure if you and I agree on this…that’s enough for me! Have a great vacation…what’s left of it.

  3. I am glad you lead us thru these thoughts about how we think and how great God’s compassion is for people…even for people we may not like. Yet God loves them.

    I knew this Doug in my heart and you explain it well. I know some people just have a hard time in this life. I don’t understand why some people sail thru and have a pretty good quality of life in this world. Some do not sail thru and life is hard for them. I have seen this in our family as well as other people I have met.

    Often we do not understand how our background shapes us. And it’s hard for us to take this into account when we deal with others who have behavioral problems or are just difficult to get along with. We want to back off from them and they don’t get the love or care that we as Christians should be giving them.
    It is a difficult thing I know. We feel they do not deserve anything good from us because they seem to be so bad (sinner) that we just cannot handle it. And I know I have done the same thing. We classify such people as weird and we tend to stick w/each other about such a person cause’ we don’t understand them. We think they person should know better. But it may be that some needed things did not happen for them in their early life to help better shape them or they may have sickness that they cannot help.

    Jesus often dealt with people who were sick. He did not give up on them or drive them away. I know I am understanding this a little more as life goes on but we cannot read people like God can. God knows even the count of the hairs on their heads. God knows the people he created and he knows how to take care of them.

    I believe if people don’t get what they need in this life that God will take this into account after they leave this earth. I depend on God (Doug has always said “God will do the Right Thing – He makes no mistakes”). We make plenty of mistakes judging people and saying and thinking very harsh things about them. This is so wrong of us. But we just don’t know like God does. I am not trying to be making us feel so guilty but we do need to try harder when we see people not being what we think they should be. They just might not be able to help it. And I know such people can make us weary. I don’t have all the answers for this. I want my life to be more calm and not bothered too much w/this kind of person. But this response is so not like Jesus was to people.

    Thank goodness for Our Good God who knows and sees everything about his people he created. He also knows the Heart like no other one in Heaven or Earth.

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