Beyond the Manger: December 21, 2015

Matthew 7:1-6 (NRSV)

7 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s[a] eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor,[b] ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s[c] eye. 6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you.

Matthew 7:1-6 (The Voice)

If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. 2 Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people.

Jesus: 3 Why is it that you see the dust in your brother’s or sister’s eye, but you can’t see what is in your own eye? 4 Don’t ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eyelashes. 5 That type of criticism and judgment is a sham! Remove the plank from your own eye, and then perhaps you will be able to see clearly how to help your brother flush out his sawdust. 6 Don’t give precious things to dogs. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. If you do, the pigs will trample the pearls with their little pigs’ feet, and then they will turn back and attack you.

Devotional Content

I hope you are planning to be with us on Thursday evening for a beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve.  We will gather with family and friends to hear the Word, remember the story, and be sent forth in peace.  We will come together with folks we know and many people that we do not know.  It will be a great example of this passage from Matthew 7 being lived out in the flesh.

God has invited us to be sure that our eye is unfiltered and that our heart is pure.  God is inviting us to set aside the things that divide us so we can be unified at the manger once again.  When that happens, we will no longer be concerned about what someone else is doing.  We will be connected heart to heart in a common moment of faith expression.  Some will believe very deeply while others will be seeking and searching.

Why not take a few moments early in the week as we prepare to come to the manger on Christmas Eve.  In the preparation, be sure to remove the speck and the log so we can see our neighbor clearly.  And what will we see?  I believe we will see people just like you and me.  People who need the Lord and are seeking his guidance in our lives.

Come, let us worship the Lord!  Amen!


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