Wednesday, November 1, 2006

more thoughts on john 3

This morning my friend Jonathan Steele and I were studying John 3 again. He commented on the verse where Jesus says, "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

We talked about how quick we are to judge others and to condemn others, thinking of ourselves as better than others.

We even noted how Jesus told a story about this in which he compared the attitude of a Pharisee with that of a tax collector. In the story, Jesus points out how the Pharisee thanks God that he (the Pharisee) is not like other "sinners." Then, Jesus tells about the tax collector and points out how the tax collector simply keeps his eyes on God and, in that context, realizes what a miserable wretch he is. Throwing himself upon God wholeheartedly, he proclaims: "Have mercy on me Lord, a sinner."

We noted the dose of self-mindfulness that took control of the Pharisee's heart, while the tax collector keeps his eyes focused on God. And then we noted the automatic connection between self-mindfulness and pride, while self-forgetfulness gives way to natural humility.

In that context, we realized just how integral worship is in our Christian formation.

Worship causes one to focus on God and not on self. And this results in humility because then one is not comparing oneself to anyone else (like the Pharisee did). Rather, one compares oneself to God; and this, needless to say, results in humility.

And then, we talked some more about how stupid it is that we condemn and compare ourselves to others. And, as we did so, it struck me:

Jesus is the one person who had the right to condemn. I mean, after all, he was (and is) perfect. But, notice: he is the only one who DOESN'T do it!

On the other hand, we have no right, whatsoever, to condemn. But notice: we almost always do it!

Is this stupid, or what?!

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