blindfolded

It was a bit of a soul-shaking experience, when, last week as I put the blog article together, I was struck cold-dead center with God’s truth. I am not happy with myself. I was guilty—again—of reading over a text without thinking; without applying it to me. I should title this article Reading Over Scriptures and Assuming They Apply to Everyone Else but Me.

Here is where the trouble began. I quoted this passage in the last blog article because it had to do with us giving an account before God

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33–37). 1

Somewhere, somehow, as I read this passage and thought about it, I realized that when I spoke evil of people, those words were being drawn out of what Jesus calls an “evil treasure.”

Why would He call this an evil treasure? How on earth can something that is a treasure be called evil?

Then, I’m sure by the Holy Spirit and the grace of God, I knew why.

Because I felt good when I said such things. Unfortunately, the “good” I felt was actually legalistic, uncompassionate legalism.

I decided to read this same teaching in Luke. However, check out the context. Notice that this time, the teaching about good and bad treasure begins with the word “for.”

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43–45).

Why does it begin with the word for? Because of the teaching that precedes it:

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 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 (Luke 6:37–42).

This makes it clear that the evil things we speak are because we are judgmental, condemning, unforgiving, and uncompassionate.

And take note of the verses that follow the “evil treasure” passage:

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46–49).

So, this building upon a house with a solid-rock foundation is not only about salvation. It’s about how I judgmentally condemn others with the words that I speak. It’s about how, if I do speak from that “evil treasure,” that I am building my life on a wrong foundation—a self-righteous, uncompassionate, unlike-God foundation, which will fall when a flood comes. That flood will overwhelm me because, although I thought I was so righteous and right-with-God that I could judgmentally look down my nose at people, thinking they have gotten themselves into sinful trouble because they are stupid and ignorant, I will come under the crushing weight of that same judgment. My own words will condemn me. I too must have been stupid and ignorant, just as I accused them of being.

 

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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