Preparing for Worship: Judge Not

Preparing for Worship: Judge Not

John Haralson   •   September 22, 2017

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector, artist unknown

I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.
Jean Vanier

In the confession of concrete sins the old man dies a painful, shameful death before the eyes of a brother. Because this humiliation is so hard, we continually scheme to avoid it. Yet in the deep mental and physical pain of humiliation before a brother we experience our rescue and salvation.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Dear Friends,

I don’t know about you, but I love confessing other peoples’ sins.

I mean, it’s almost effortless. Whether I’m considering the sins of my wife, members of my extended family, my neighbors, or my co-workers (church co-workers sin, in case you’re wondering), pointing out the failures of others is as easy as falling off a log.

But, entering into this natural practice also does not bring life.

In the sermon text for this week, we continue in Luke’s account of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Plain”. The sermon contains Jesus’ teachings to his disciples about what a life of discipleship is supposed to look like.

Instead of a knee-jerk reaction to name the sins of others first, Jesus commands us to do this instead:

          Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not
          notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your
          brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when
          you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite,
          first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to
          take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

Jesus tells us that in order to bring goodness and blessing into the world, we need to begin with confessing our own sins. It’s no exaggeration to say that the kingdom of God moves forward in the world by God’s people confessing their own sins.

When we live in this way before the watching world, it is a very concrete way of bearing witness to the good news of the kingdom. When we live with humble, confessional postures in the world, we are living out the reality that the crucified Lord is the giver of life.

This week: Luke 6:37-42, Judge Not.

Liturgy is here.

I hope to worship with you.

John