DID YOU KNOW (6)
…That you choose the measure of your gain or loss.
Human beings have this crazy idea that it is okay to have two standards of judgment, one for ourselves which is lenient and another for other people which is based on the standard we set for ourselves but is very strict. We let ourselves off on the basis that we are “only human” or that we are not responsible; it is someone else’s fault that we said or did this or that or that we are this way, that is, we are angry, miserable, frustrated or whatever. We judge others because they did not measure up to the standard we set for ourselves.
The Apostle Paul understood human nature.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself because you who pass judgment do the same things (Rom.2:1).
Now we have to ask: How fair is that?
God is absolutely just and fair. He has a simple solution for our foolish injustice. He has determined that we set the measure of justice we receive from Him by the way we treat others. Jesus put it like this:
Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matt. 7:1-2).
If we think that we have the right to set the standard and to judge others for their wrongdoing, we must not forget that we are automatically passing judgment on ourselves as well, and that the punishment we inflict on others will come straight back to us.
As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, “A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman’s house. He made it for Mordacai who spoke up to help the king. The king said, “Hang him on it!” So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordacai. Then the king’s fury subsided (Esth. 7:8b-10).
God’s just measure applies in other situations as well. I found a significant one at the end of Jesus’ story about the sower and the seed, and His explanation of the parable to His disciples. They asked Him why He taught in parables. He gave them a curious answer.
He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside, everything is said in parables so that,
‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” (Mark 4:11-12).
Why would Jesus not want them to believe? He was quoting from Isa 6:9-10. God commissioned Isaiah to go and preach to His people to harden their hearts because they had already chosen to ignore His word and disobey His instructions. Isaiah would continue to give them God’s instructions until their disobedience made them ripe for judgment. They had already chosen their course. Isaiah’s message would harden their hearts until they were carried into captivity. Through their suffering, some would finally return to the Lord.
By teaching the people in parables, Jesus was doing what Isaiah had done in the past. Only those who had a heart to believe and receive His Word would gain understanding from His teaching.
But there was an equally serious warning for those who chose to listen to Him.
“Consider carefully what you hear,” He continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him (Mark 4:24-25).
Did you get the gist of Jesus’ words? What we choose to do with God’s Word will determine whether we gain more than what we have now or lose what little we have. We can never remain neutral to the Word of God. Every time we choose to ignore what we have read or heard, we lose more of our ability to understand and respond. If we keep ignoring what God wants of us, we will eventually be so immune to His Word that we will be unable to hear or understand it.
But there is another side to the measure we choose to use. God responds to our generosity with a deluge of blessing. That’s the kind of God He is. He uses the strict measure of our choices to dispense consequences, but He give back to us in immeasurable bounty when we act out of love towards those in need. Consider this promise:
Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38).
This verse does not only relate to material things; it relates also to the measure of love, time, care and forgiveness we extend to others. The more we pour ourselves into the lives of others, the more God pours His love and grace into us. How much better to use a huge measure of love and kindness in our attitude and interaction with others than to judge or condemn because we can never out-give God.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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