Monday, March 3, 2014

Thou

When the 10 commandments were given all but two began with the words "thou".  Honor thy father and thy mother likewise specifies "thy".  "Thou shalt", or "thou shalt not" makes it clear it was singular, and meant to be personal.  It didn't say "Everyone shalt",  Or "all thy neighbors shalt", or "your coworker shalt not" "thy family members shalt all"  "The whole world shalt not".  It was not a rule to be pointed outward, it was a direction for the individual pointing inward. "Thou" shalt.

Have you ever applied your religion externally?  It's easy to do, and it inevitably leads to strife.  There's something some might call eerily satisfying about using your religious beliefs as a measuring stick with which we evaluate others.  Especially so when the comparison makes you look good, or feel superior.  We should all be careful of that one.  On this topic it needs to be said that there's a difference between sharing light and truth, and setting an example on the one hand vs letting commandments and religion become the measuring stick with which to judge and evaluate others.  It sounds like common sense that pointing the commandments outward was never the intent of the commandments.  But it's a big pitfall and..... it never works out. 

The Lord spoke in scripture about the standard we use to measure and judge others being the very standard that would be use against us (Matthew 7:2).  Therefore wise to refrain from judging or misapplying what were meant to be internal standards to others. Measuring or assessing others based on religious views or some other related measuring stick we've come up with almost always comes across as self-righteous, proud, and will turn the other person off to what you are about.  Sometimes for a long period of time. I can't think of many times when such approaches have ever made another person suddenly start behaving the way you think they ought to.  I've never seen it.  Standing up for the truth isn't about being right at how wrong others are.  Standing up for the truth is being firm in how you should act before God and allowing others to determine that for themselves.  Their religion is between them and God anyway.  Your's is between you and God.

In the end others will answer for themselves.  Approaching others free of evaluations and judgement is a very different experience than the alternative.  It's freeing.  If you've ever interacted with those types of people I'm sure you came away noticing that it is much more enjoyable to be around those folks.  They give you space.  It feels good.

The Lord began the most well known commandments with the word "thou".   If you consider yourself one to whom those commandments are addressed then that's great.  It's God's word.  But to revert them into something you apply to others can surely only lead to disaster.  That's more like commandment malpractice and I've recognized this in myself.  However I've found it much more enjoyable to not do that.  How true it is that what others should or should not be doing is best left between them and God.  It's so much lighter to approach life that way.  It free's us to love, and serve without being burdened by the scales of judgement.

I don't think the experience of Saul where it says "there fell from his eyes as it had been scales" is something beyond our comprehension or realm of possibility (Acts 9:18).  

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