20 But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. 21 Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, 22 change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. 23 Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit24 and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness. – Ephesians 4: 20-24
This verse has me digging deep in thought and deep into my soul, providing more questions than answers.
It’s seems to me as “The Church” we are known for moral codes and judgment. Do you live up to a moral standard? If not, beware of judgment. Yet time and time again, while morality matters, scripture tells us that The Lord is concerned with our hearts. When David, the runt, is chosen to be the next King of Israel, in 1 Samuel, we are told “God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.” When we see Jesus at work, we see him live with compassion and mercy for the sick and those in need, and eating dinner in the homes of those whose morals were suspect at best. The Lord seems to be more concerned with matters of the heart.
As a parent, I want my children to do right, but whether they do what I believe to be right or wrong, I am more concerned with their heart and their attitude.
We’ve seen so much in the news lately from SCOTUS decisions and church burnings, and racially motivated shootings. I had to step away from social media for a while because of all of the posts that seemed to be mostly about morality and judgment and folks who are certain they are morally right. Precious little was said about attitude and heart. How can we even have civil discourse about morality without first focusing on our own attitude and heart?
Will our neighbors know we love them if all they experience and hear is our judgment on their morality?
Just two days ago, I had a conversation with an 18 year-old, self-proclaimed atheist/agnostic (he wasn’t completely sure there was a God or not), who said he didn’t want to go anywhere near a church or church group again because he had experienced ridicule, hate, and judgment. He had never experienced civil discourse in Christian community. Shame on us. He’s never had the opportunity to experience God’s love and grace, he’s only experienced the wrath and judgment of God’s people.
I can’t change the world, but God can change me.
Today, I’m asking once again for The Lord to clear my heart of judgment for those who are different from, believe differently, live differently, or have different morals. I’m asking God to help me love instead. I’m praying for an attitude adjustment and heart cleansing. Care to join me?
Prayer: Lord, help me to judge less and love more – Just as you have done for me. Look deep into my heart, deep into my soul, and clean it out. Fix my attitude, move me from judgment to love. I pray love wins. At the foot of your cross, and peering into the empty tomb, I believe it does. Amen.