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How to Handle Being Treated Wrongly

I’m among the first to feel my temperature rise when I feel I’ve been treated wrongly. However, I learned early on while playing sports that reacting in a bad way hurts you and hurts your team. For instance, have you ever watched baseball and see a player start arguing with the umpire only to have his manager come flying out of the dugout to take over the argument? Why doesn’t the manager just pull the player aside? After all, these arguments usually end up with the manager being ejected. There’s a couple of reasons for this. The first is that with respect to the individual game, usually the player is too valuable to lose by being tossed out. If the manager is tossed, he’s already set into motion a lot of things and he’s counting on his bench coach and the rest of the staff to make the decisions that need to be made for the remainder of the game. After all, that’s what they get paid to do. Second, he continues the argument because someone has to take up on behalf of the player. Think about it for a minute. If you were a player and you thought the umpire made a bad call, but then your manager didn’t back you up, would you feel compelled to play hard for that man? Probably not.

Jeremiah faced a similar situation. He was sent to deliver God’s message to Israel. The problem was that the people who were supposed to receive the message mocked it. This wasn’t a big surprise given the heart condition of those people. I’m sure Jeremiah expected it, but faithfully he went anyway. After he had tried, here was his prayer:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Behold, they say to me,
“Where is the word of the Lord?
Let it come!”
I have not run away from being your shepherd,
nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
it was before your face.
Be not a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction!

– Jeremiah 17:14-18, ESV

First, note Jeremiah’s reliance on God. God could heal and God could save. He wasn’t relying on himself. He was relying on God. When we are treated wrongly, we can rely on God to heal us and to save us, too, even if we don’t see a way that is possible. It is God’s decision, of course, but if He decides that’s what we need, then it will be done. Second, note how Jeremiah describes God, “You are my praise.” Magnificent. He’s in a tough spot. He’s in a tough spot because God sent him there. Yet Jeremiah describes God as his “praise.” Do we do the same?

Then Jeremiah gets to the heart of the issue. He lodges his complaint against the people. They were told the truth, but then they mocked it. Jeremiah is pleading his case. He did what was asked. He followed God’s direction. The people didn’t respond. As a result, he asked God to deal with the folks who acted wrongly. He asked that God not move against him because the people failed to respond. Yes, Jeremiah even prayed for their destruction, seemingly in conflict to saying he didn’t wish upon them “the day of sickness.” There are a few interpretations for this. The first is that though Jeremiah didn’t want it to happen, he knew it was a necessity and pleaded for God to take action. In other words, getting rid of the bad influences so the rest of God’s people wouldn’t be influenced. A second is that Jeremiah simply wasn’t going to raise his own hand. He would rely on God to administer justice as He saw fit. A third is that when Jeremiah went to the people, he sought what was best for them (unlike another prophet, Jonah, who didn’t want to see a single Assyrian receive mercy). However, their response caused him to realize that they had chosen to align against God and therefore Jeremiah asks for a swift and complete destruction. Whichever the explanation may really be, what we can take from Jeremiah’s prayer is that Jeremiah didn’t try and avenge the wrongs done to him and to God. He left it in the hands of God. Therefore, we see the appropriate response when we are treated wrongly:

  1. Appeal to God for healing and saving, if needed.
  2. Remember that God is our praise, regardless of the circumstances.
  3. Do not take action ourselves for revenge.
  4. Appeal for the decision to be left in God’s hands.

There are other parts of Scripture that back up such an approach. This is how we should respond. It may not always be easy, but it is right. There is no justification in committing a wrongful act in response to a previous wrong. God doesn’t look at us and compare us to others. He doesn’t “grade on a curve.” He looks at us individually and compares us to the standard. He expects that we meet evil with good, even when it is the most difficult thing we could ever do. Meeting evil with good doesn’t mean getting walked all over. What it does mean is choosing not to seek revenge but to praise God and leave it in His hands. His judgment is perfect. Therefore, He will do the best thing in the circumstance. When we are right, God will act in the best way possible. To go back to the analogy I opened with, we are His players, and He is the manager. Only, there isn’t an umpire who can throw Him out of the game!

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Don’t Compound a Wrong with Another Wrong

There’s an old saying, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” You can’t make something right by committing another wrong. And sometimes making something right is hard. It may mean taking on a responsibility you didn’t want to bear. It may mean swallowing your pride and accepting a slight. It may mean forgiving an old debt, even a large one. The key here is to focus on what is right and doing it because it’s the right thing to do. When we don’t do that, typically we just add to the chain of bad things, like Abram did:

And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.  – Genesis 16:5-6

Sarai didn’t like how she has been treated. She didn’t want to admit that the situation was partially her fault. As a result, she blamed it all on Abram. If you follow the Biblical philosophy that there is a hierarchy to the household and that the husband should lead humbly, loving his wife as Christ loves the Church, and training up his kids in the way they should go, then she had some validity to her blame. The decision on what to do ultimately rested with Abram. There are no two ways about it. Abram was the one who should have stopped the situation from happening. As a matter of fact, according to what we know from the rest of Scripture, it is Abram whom God would hold accountable for this mess. But Sarai then does nothing to improve the situation. She instead made it worse. One could argue that she’s justified because of how Hagar treated her. But revenge by us is not justified. Treating someone wrongly, no matter how they have treated us, is not justified. It is still wrong.

Abram had a chance to make things right. He had the opportunity to put both of them side-by-side and end the nonsense. He could have said, “Look, we three got ourselves into this situation. We’re a family. We’re not going to fight. We’re not going to mistreat each other. We will do the right thing by each other starting now. We can’t undo the past. But we can do something about how we act in the future.” And then he could have stood his ground. He could have corrected any attempts to tip-toe around his words. Abram could have been strong here. But he wasn’t. Instead, he passed the responsibility back to Sarai. “She’s your servant… treat her any way you want.” He dodged his duty. He shouldn’t have! That’s right, but he did. However, before we’re so quick to condemn Abram, there’s something we must remember: we’ve done the same thing many, many times. We’re just as guilty as he is.

Abram could have broken the chain and starting trying to amend the situation for the better. Would he ever gotten it back to right again? We don’t know and likely not, but he could have made it better. He chose not to and that was wrong. As a result, he compounded one wrong with another wrong. In the years to come the situation would repeat and eventually Hagar and Ishmael would be kicked out. The family would be split. A boy would be separated from his daddy during his teenage years because his daddy effectively choose his baby half-brother over him. Stop and think about that one for a moment. Is there any doubt as to why there is enmity between the descendents of Ishmael and the descendents of Isaac to this day?

Don’t continue the chain. If there is something wrong right now that you have the ability to change, break the chain. Do the right thing. Don’t compound the wrong that has already been done with more wrong. Choosing not to do something when you can make it better is a choice: a choice for wrong. If you’re not sure if there are such things in your life, ask God for discernment. We all have them, and they are all around us. There are damaged relationships with friends and family. There are situations in the lives of folks in our church where we can be an encouragement and a break in the storm that is life. There are a multitude of places where we can do the right thing and stop the cycle of wrong. We just have to see those places and want to shoulder the load. Let us be less like Abram, less like our weaker selves, and more like the Christ who took the weighty burden of sin upon His shoulders and bore them to the Cross for each one of us.

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Don’t Use Your Gifts for Sin

I used to be primarily a computer programmer. A friend of mine who knew that was into hacking satellite TV. This was when the satellite TV companies were getting smarter about beating those who were hacking the signals and getting free service. He wasn’t a programmer and was having to rely on what he found on-line in various forums to stay ahead of the companies. He asked if I would help him, since at the root of it was programming. He was very disappointed in me when I said, “No, I won’t do it.” Note I said won’t, not can’t. He caught that, too, and that was why he was disappointed. In his mind, what he was doing was okay. They were beaming the signal into his yard and he was just taking advantage of it. In my mind, it was stealing. Therefore, I couldn’t agree to what he was asking me to do.

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.  – Genesis 11:1-9, ESV

People had figured out masonry. As a result, they were able to create buildings far above simple huts. We know they were working on a ziggurat here, one far larger than ever before. In other words, they were building a monument to their knowledge, one that was supposed to challenge God. It was the same sin as we found in the Garden, man wanting to be like God. So they used their knowledge and they started building this massive structure. That’s when God decided He had seen enough.

We’re told God scattered people and caused the many languages to start to form. In other words, God was taking a divide and conquer strategy. Could God have dealt with everyone all at once? Sure, he could have. After all, He destroyed the earth with water in the Great Flood, right? We can see when we delve into eschatology that God can do the same thing with “fire.” But God didn’t take that approach. He didn’t smite all evil doers mightily. Rather, he dispersed them, to make it harder for people to get together to plan more sin, or at least sin that would pull in the multitudes. He put barriers in place to make it harder to get the sort of coordination and cooperation as what was seen at Babel. Like I said, He could have just wiped us off the map. He chose not to, for His redemptive plan was already in action.

The key takeaway here is that we all have gifts and we have a responsibility to use them wisely. We are to use them for God’s glory, not for evil. We are to use them to honor God, not ourselves. Sometimes, especially in ministry or service, that’s a fine line that cannot be determined by outward actions. Rather, it’s distinguished by the heart doing the actions. Yes, I might be good at engineering creative water management solutions (I’m not personally, but know folks who are, so this is hypothetical). I have the experience to get the job done and the desire to see the projects complete. God has gifted me in all of this. But when I sit down and figure out a way to get a remote village much needed water with a permanent solution, why am I doing it? Am I doing it so I can be patted on the back or am I doing it out of compassion and mercy for those who are in need? That’s what determines whether a gift is being used for His glory or for personal gain. So even when we feel we’re doing the right thing, we must examine our motives.

Have you considered how you are using your gifts? Are they being used to glorify God or are they being used for your own purposes? It’s easy to do the latter when we intended to do the former. As a musician, I can attest to being caught in that trap. If that’s the case, it’s something we need to confess and do something about. I know a gifted singer who took time off from being in the choir because he was facing this sort of battle in his life. People who heard him sing in the congregation couldn’t understand why he wasn’t using his gift in the choir. But few were willing to ask him about it. They assumed he was being selfish with his time. Quite the opposite! He did want to sing. But he knew that if he did sing, he would get caught in that cycle of singing for the praise he received, not to truly give praise to God. So he took time away. He worked with God on it. For four years he struggled before he felt it was okay for him to sing again. We need to be similarly minded. If our gifts will lead to sin, we need to take them before God and ask for His wisdom. Maybe we just need a different perspective. Maybe we need someone to hold us accountable. Or maybe we need time away where we work on maturing in our faith and our love with God. Whatever it takes, don’t let your gifts be used for sin.

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Don’t Compartmentalize Your Life

It’s not unusual to hear people say, especially within the Church, that their priorities are God, their family, their friends, and then their jobs. The spirit behind such comments is noble: God is first, but we don’t forget about friends and family. However, I don’t believe this is a good way of looking at things. See, if God is first, there might be something about your job that takes priority over family. For instance, if you’re a firefighter and there’s a major fire going on, which is more important, going to the fire or stopping off and picking up orange juice at the grocery store for the family? I know that’s an extreme case, but it reveals how faulty it is to try and compartmentalize our lives based on these types of broad categories.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.  – 1 Corinthians 7:23-24, ESV

In context, the first set of verses, from 1 Corinthians 6, refers to keeping our bodies pure, however, the point that is made is that we have been bought with the shed blood of Christ. The second set of verses is in the context of how to live. Again, we see Paul saying we were bought with a price. This is an important fact to remember: we are not our own, for Christ purchased us through His death on the Cross. As a result, He should have dominion over every aspect of our lives. Let me use an analogy.

I was in one of those large home improvement stores recently. There are plenty of supplies and you can buy what you need to fix your bathroom, add a deck to your house, or stand up that swing set by buying the bits and pieces. You don’t even have to buy them all at one time. If you can only afford part of it now and part of it a little later, and if your project can stand the delay or you have a place to safely store the supplies until you have all you need, you can do this piecemeal purchase. That store also has kits for several types of projects where everything you need (except the tools) are put together in one big package with one fixed price. Now, some of those kits require employees to go and get all the bits and put them together for you to take home when you go to purchase the kit, but you’re still getting everything all at once. You make one purchase and you own every material and component you need to accomplish the project.

This is the way God purchased us. He purchased all of us at one time. He didn’t purchase us in bits and pieces. He didn’t purchase our devotion to Him and then put a down payment on our family with an option to buy on our jobs. He bought everything with that action of ultimate sacrifice upon the Cross. Therefore, every aspect of our lives is to be for God, and that means He is the only priority. Others may compartmentalize their lives or see our lives as segmented, but each of us should see his or her life as a whole: one complete body for one Almighty God. If God is our only priority, then everything gets covered in its right place and order. What I say is not inconsistent with what I do. So when I choose to go to that fire over picking up the orange juice, I’m not contradicting what I said my priorities are. Rather, if my focus is on God and He says the fire is more important, then that’s what I’m to do.

Now He could throw us a real jaw dropper and tell us that the orange juice is more important. And the “rational” person would say, “But there are lives on the line at the fire!” What we and those “rational” people might not be able to see is that getting the orange juice puts us at home the very minute we’re needed for a medical emergency concerning someone in our family. That’s the the other problem with trying to determine priorities in boxes. We don’t see it all. What may seem like a minor priority isn’t. But only God would know that. If we try to determine our priorities based on what we think and based on the compartments and rules we’ve set up, we will eventually blow it. Only by allowing God to be the sole focus, to recognize that He bought us in whole and therefore deserves us wholly, is the way to get it right.

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Focus on Today

Last week I started to think about all the things I have lined up to do. Among the job, ministry, and my professional obligations, my family is working overtime to remake our house to be simpler, more austere, and significantly de-cluttered. The latter has taken a lot of time and effort, which has to be factored in to our other commitments. It means “family time” is harder to maintain. And I was thinking about all of this, I realized I was starting to spin myself up in a way that was destructive. I was about to start worrying about things I couldn’t control and couldn’t do something about right then. As a result, I would be taking focus and time away from things I could do immediately. This is what Jesus meant when He told us not to worry about tomorrow.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  – Matthew 6:34, ESV

It’s easy to get caught up in the trap of worrying about tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Now there is a difference between worrying and planning. Worrying is dwelling on what is to come and not doing anything constructive about it. Worrying is rehashing in your mind the same thing over and over again. And worrying gets us nowhere. It increases our stress, decreases our health, and wastes our time. We have enough things to do today. What adds to Jesus’ command is the fact that we don’t know how much time we have left. Only He does. So time wasted is time lost. That’s why the psalmist wrote:

“O LORD, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!

– Psalm 39:4-5, ESV

Our time in this life is fleeting. There are so many things jockeying for our attention. We don’t have time to give in to worry. But worry we often do. Now in the context of Jesus’ words, He was talking about stuff. Folks were concerned about stuff. Jesus was addressing this occupation with stuff and with worrying about whether they would have the time and resources to secure more stuff. You know, we really haven’t changed. Many of us are still preoccupied with stuff. Or we’re concerned with the money that could buy stuff and the job that provides that money or the expenses which subtract from that money. And we get so caught up in this that we miss what’s really important: our Savior, our family, and our friends. The thing of it is that if we’re so caught up in stuff and worrying about stuff that we miss on what’s important, we and the people we say we care about will regret it one day.

This hit home when a friend and mentor posted how a friend of his had just passed away in a plane crash. They had camped together, their kids played together, and they did scouting together. Now that family is left without a husband and a father. What my friend wrote about this man tells us a bit about the man’s legacy. See, we all have a legacy. We all will be remembered by those who knew us when we’re gone. How will we be remembered, though? Will we be remembered as people who always ensured time was available to who was most important? Or will we be remembered as folks who worried about jobs and money and things that ultimately are of little eternal consequence? How we spend that our time will determine that. God isn’t calling us to be irresponsible. There are plenty of admonitions in Scripture about taking care of our responsibilities, honoring our commitments, and doing the best we can. But what He is telling us to do is to really think about what is most important, what we can do right now especially given those priorities, and to not worry about the rest.

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The Best of Intentions

One of the things I sometimes struggle with is whether or not to go ahead with an important action that seems right in my mind. When I say I struggle, I struggle because it isn’t something that I’ve earnestly prayed over. If it’s important, I should pray over it, right? That’s one of those simple, “Of course!” type of questions. But the reality is that a lot of us make important decisions all the time and we don’t take adequate time to ask God what it is we should do. We rely on our own intuition and understanding and we proceed with whatever it is we want to do. This can have dire consequences.

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.”

But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you.”

Yet Gideon said to them, “I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

They said, “We will surely give them.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.
– Judges 8:22-27, NASB

Here Gideon makes a wise decision not to rule over the Israelites. That wasn’t up to Gideon. That was up to God. In its place he asks for a seemingly innocent request, and that’s for a share of the spoils. That was something the grateful Israelites were pleased to honor and with some of that wealth Gideon made an ephod. The question that first came to mind is, “Why?” Israel already had an ephod, or should have had one, for the high priest. It served to help tell God’s will. In Gideon’s case, why was one needed? Maybe it has to do with the fleeces that Gideon used to confirm God’s instruction. Maybe Gideon thought he needed something to hear from God, even though God spoke directly to him. The Bible doesn’t tell us why. But it does tell us what happened next. The ephod served as a major idol for the Israelites. The NASB said Israel played the harlot. The NIV says Israel prostituted itself by worshipping the ephod. Wait. What was that? Yes, indeed, the garment made out of the spoils of a battle won by God was being used to worship something other than God. Not only was Israel doing it, but so was Gideon and his family. Though Gideon had heard directly from God, though God confirmed His calling, and though God clearly won the battle against the Midianites with Gideon as a witness, Gideon still fell prey to the ephod.

We can’t see the ending of anything we do at the time we do it. We cannot know how it will turn out or the repercussions it will cause. But the God we serve and love can. We may think something is just fine but it turns out not to be. We can’t see that. Only God can. And if we don’t check in with Him, we may not find out something we want to do with the best of intentions is actually a pretty rotten idea in the first place before we’ve gone ahead and done it. This is a big problem for those of us who have grown up to be self-reliant and whose place in culture or our jobs or what have you places a premium on self-reliance. I know that’s true of me. And because we’re so self-reliant in other areas, we tend to be self-reliant on major decisions, too. This is bad. So very bad. Gideon has shown us clearly why. Therefore, we need to take the time to ask God for help. Even if we think we don’t have time, we do. Our lack of time is a faulty perception on our part. God can and will answer as we need Him to. I said need and not want. There is a big difference there. We must not grow impatient waiting on God. He will tell us the answer when He know it is best for us to know it. So we need to ask and patiently listen. Otherwise, we could find ourselves entrapped by our decision, a decision we thought was a good idea in the first place.

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Remember Whose Opinion Counts

This is an area most of us struggle with. We want to be liked. We want to be accepted. And we want what we’re doing to meet the approval of those around us. Those are desires just about every human being seems to have. I say just about because I’ve met a few who simply didn’t care what anyone else thought. They were always doing their own thing. And it didn’t matter what anyone else thought. My youngest son is like this sometimes. He gets locked into something and though others around him may say he’s being “strange” or “weird” or “crazy,” he simply doesn’t listen to them. I say sometimes because there are other times when the opinions of others matter, and matter a lot. The way he responds has a lot to do with how deeply immersed he is in to something. For instance, if it involves turtles, he really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Turtles are his domain. If you think he’s crazy to be so fascinated with turtles, well, in his opinion it just shows you don’t know how wonderful turtles are. I know where he’s coming from. When I was his age, I was the same way. While I’m not as fascinated by turtles as I once was, they are still special creatures.

But if we take another area, such as boardgame skills, he can get sensitive in a hurry. This is especially true if he believes in what he’s doing and someone says something negatively about his plan of action. For instance, he and his brother will get in squabbles over tactics in one of our favorite WWII boardgames. My younger son can get pretty hurt and defensive if his older brother doesn’t agree with his plan. What makes things worse is that often when the younger boy has come upon a certain plan, it’s a great one. I hate playing him when he has tanks. He really knows how to use them. He sees attack patterns and ideas that his older brother doesn’t. I will admit to having been caught by surprise by some of his maneuvers and I’ve dropped a couple of games to them because of it. While his older brother is overall the best tactician, probably due to a more lengthy practice of playing chess, when it comes to the use of armor, the younger one wins, hands down. And when his opinion is discounted, he can be very easily hurt by it.

When it comes to the world around us, we tend to react more like in the second case than in the first. If the world around us, or specifically the people we know around us, aren’t favorable to what we’re doing, we tend to shrink back from doing it. Unfortunately, their opinion matters, even if it is an area involving God. But God expects us to be like the first case, where it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. We’re talking about God here. And when it comes to God, no one else’s opinion is supposed to matter.

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? – John 5:41-44, NIV

This is Jesus’ response to some religious folks who were opposed to Him healing someone on the Sabbath and for equating Himself with God the Father. He knew their religiosity was a front. It wasn’t from an authentic love of God. Rather, it was what made them favorable in the eyes of the people around them. So Jesus did what He did a lot; He called them out on it. He pointed out that the opinions of other people don’t matter when it comes to God. So while they were feeling warm and fuzzy because they were getting the back slaps and atta-boys from the folks around them, they weren’t pleasing God. As a matter of fact, they weren’t even looking for God’s praise. And from these facts Jesus points out that there was no belief in them.  That’s why He asks them, “How can you believe?”

As believers, we must not be guilty of the same mistake. We must seek to obtain the praise that comes from our God. If it happens to garner us praise from the folks around us, that’s great, but that shouldn’t be why we do it. Ultimately, the only “opinion” that matters is God’s. And it’s His praise we should be looking for. Which reminds me, I would be neglectful if I didn’t speak about the underlying warning Jesus’ words give us here. We must be careful of when we accept the praise of others, too. Part of that is who is giving the praise. Praise from the wrong people may show us to be aligned with them or their agendas in some way. The other part of it is we may get used to that praise. And thus we’ll start looking to garner it, putting us in the situation Jesus is speaking against. God’s opinion is the only one matters. That should be what drives us, not the opinion of others.

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