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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
Hebrews 10:24

As  I’ve mentioned, my home church is going through a time of transition.  Our pastor retired and we are in the process of hiring first an interim pastor (think long-term substitute) and then a new pastor.  While we are in this period of transition, sometimes members of our congregation fill the pulpit, leading the service and preaching.  Other weeks, we bring in a pastor from Presbytery.

A few weeks ago, one of the pastors preached on looking forward.  He meant looking forward to what you can do for God vs looking back and resting on your laurels.  “I’ve already served on that committee/helped plan the picnic/sung in the choir.  Now is my time to take it easy.”  But this idea of looking forward has stuck with me as I consider Ruth’s request to continue writing on how we judge others.

Looking forward, we see what could be – new friendships, new chances to serve.

Looking backwards, we see traditions, past hurts and old habits.  They mire us down and harden our hearts (thus the pillar of salt reference).

And I’m as guilty of looking back as the next person in spite of the fact that I know it hardens my heart, especially in one situation.  My problem is that I truly dislike a boy my son has to deal with.  He talks trash in the extreme and strikes out at other kids.  Catch him at it – mid-kick or with an ice chunk flying from his hand – and he’ll look you in the face and lie. “I didn’t do it.”

But I’m also sure that I tend to make the situation worse.  Why?  Because I catch myself looking for his next transgression.

How different would the situation be if I tried to see him as God sees him?  A blessed, if troubled, child.  Someone worthy and deserving of love.  What if, instead of looking back and seeing all of the things he’s done, I looked forward?  What if I saw possibilities instead of past transgressions?  Instead of simply policing him, I might be able to encourage him with an eye to his future.

It isn’t going to be easy, but not many things worth doing are.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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