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Luke Study #61 – Everybody Wins

The Gospel Of Luke

Luke 6:37-38 (CEV)

37 Jesus said:

Don’t judge others, and God won’t judge you. Don’t be hard on others, and God won’t be hard on you. Forgive others, and God will forgive you. 38 If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated.

Everybody Wins

“What if there was a world where you could guarantee that you would have everything you needed in life? A world where God wouldn’t judge you or be hard on you. A world where you always had enough – and more! A world where you were always treated exactly the way you wanted to be treated.”

At first glance, Jesus almost sounds a bit like a used car salesman, doesn’t he?

How can he make these kinds of claims; give these types of guarantees? That everything’s going to go well? That you’re going to have everything you need and more? And even if it’s true, how in the world does he expect us to get from here to there? If we’re honest, these are some extremely high expectations!

I think we have to start by asking ourselves why we do all this judging and being hard and unforgiving and stingy business in the first place.

I’ve seen in my own life that when I view the world through the harsh lens of judgment it’s almost always because I’m hearing that voice of judgment pointed first and foremost at me. When I come down hard on others, it’s often because I’m already being even harder on myself. Usually the reason I don’t forgive is because I can’t really see how anyone would forgive me. And I get stingy when I am worried that I won’t possibly have enough.

So maybe the opposite might be true as well?

Maybe if I wasn’t being hard on myself, hearing judgment all around me, assuming I’m unforgiveable and worried I wouldn’t have enough, than I wouldn’t be so prone to respond this way?

But it seems so incredibly hard for this to change!

In my experience, that’s because it’s only going to happen with grace. And grace has this kind of odd set of economic rules attached to it. It’s as if we can’t experience grace without someone first offering grace. Yet we can’t offer grace without someone first experiencing grace.

Which is where community comes in and surrender is required.

God is creative, so He’s completely allowed to teach this to you some other way, but the way I began to understand grace was through this two-steps-forward-one-step-back dance with community. At first I didn’t trust it. At first I was still seeing people through the lens of judgment, the lens of being hard on myself and others, the lens that said I couldn’t possibly be forgiven, and that there would never be enough. But the more I surrendered – the more I let down my walls of defenses – the more I experienced community, and the more I experienced grace, and that in turn made it easier it to join in to community and surrender more deeply to the grace that was there.

The same was true in my relationship with God. It might seem crazy to talk about my relationship with God as part of community, but God talks about Himself as Communal (Father-Son-Holy Spirit) and invites us to join in with the community that God is already enjoying. And as I began to take him up on the offer, the lenses of judgment and harshness and unforgiveness and “not enough” began to get out of focus and blurry. They didn’t make any sense in the context of the grace I was experiencing from God-In-Community.

And the more these things were happening in my community at Vox and in my community with God, the more I found I was able to extend grace instead of judgment to others. The more I was able to offer gentleness instead of harshness to those around me. The more forgiveness became the obvious (if still not easy) response when someone hurt me. The more I wanted to believe that there would be enough, as long as we all decided to choose generosity.

I’m by no means there yet. But that’s kind of the theme throughout this story of Kingdom-Breaking-In. It’s not a snap-your-fingers-and-its-done kind of thing. It’s a slow process of breaking in that one day will get to the wholeness and Shalom that God made us for. But until then, I still think that every time any of us takes a step towards this way of Kingdom living everybody wins!Journal Questions:

  1. What lenses do you tend to view the world through?
  2. As you go through your day today, if you find yourself judging, being hard on someone, not wanting to forgive, or being stingy, instead of berating yourself, ask yourself “why?”
  3. Ask yourself “what is the story that I’m telling myself that makes me act like this?”
  4. If you find yourself coming up with stories that say that you’re “not good enough”, that you’re “just holding people to the same standards you hold yourself to”, that you’ve “never been forgiven for doing something like this” or that “there isn’t enough” or any other messages like that, it might be time for some deeper community – with others at Vox and with God.
  5. If you’re not sure what that might look like, please send us a message. We’d love to chat about it together.

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