O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent?Who shall dwell on your holy hill?He who walks blamelessly and does what is rightand speaks truth in his heart;who does not slander with his tongueand does no evil to his neighbor,nor takes up a reproach against his friend;in whose eyes a vile person is despised,but who honors those who fear the LORD;who swears to his own hurt and does not change;who does not put out his money at interestand does not take a bribe against the innocent.He who does these things shall never be moved.-- Psalm 15:1-5
Thursday, January 9, 2014
We generally think we ought to be kind and forgiving and tolerant of everyone, but are there people we may despise? Paul warned the church at Corinth about be too accepting: But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. (1 Corinthians 5:11)
Jesus did not despise those who were in need of the Great Physician. He did, though, tell us that we could not follow Him unless we were willing to hate: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Wait, “even his own life”? Jude, of all people, might help us out: And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. (Jude 22-23)
It’s the flesh that is the problem. The old nature, my old nature is vile and to be despised. In each one of us, even the most fallen and wicked, is the potential for the new life. It is bond and imprisoned by the carnal mind and worldly ways of thinking. Do we not hate and are we not right to hate those who oppress and enslave others? We ought also to despise the self which denies liberty to the spirit.