It’s easy to point a finger at the lives of others. Turn on the television, radio, or log into the internet and you will find finger pointing. But this problem has easily found its way into the church family. We all know that no one is beyond fault, sin or failure. Yet we too often are much more understanding of it occurring in our personal lives than we are in the lives of others. Let’s go to God’s word and let it speak to our hearts as we continue our look into Jesus parables. From Luke 6:39-43 we read “And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. 43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
This parable comes from Jesus’ sermon on the mount. From it Jesus challenges us to come face to face with who we are. Jesus doesn't stop there; he challenges how we deal with it and the effect our lives have on others. Notice with me…
First the Lord asks a question. Remember this is the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus has in front of Him not only His disciples but a multitude of people who have followed Him for days. Watching Jesus work miracles and heal all types of disease. Jesus asks them …” can the blind lead the blind?” So, Is it possible for a blind person to lead a blind person? Sure, but the outcome will not be good. They will both wind up in the ditch. If two people having the same problem try to help each other, neither one of them will make any progress. That’s what happens when we have unconfessed sin in our lives. Any, and all unconfessed sin in our lives will hinder our ability to influence others because we will be just as blind as the person we are trying to help. Would you be willing to listen to someone who currently has problems as bad or worse than yours? Being religious, moral, kind, polite or even giving are great attributes to have, but they do nothing to properly influence others. So, how do we gain influence in other people's lives? Nothing short of the forgiveness of our sins will allow us to see the light which is Christ. By knowing we have been forgiven of our sin and that it is covered in Jesus blood we will know any influence we have comes from and through the Lord Himself. We don’t have the ability to influence anyone, but we can submit ourselves to the Lord as a vessel He can work through.
Second, the Lord compares the disciple to his master. Jesus reminds us that we even in our forgiven state are never above or even equal to our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. When we become emotional, we tend to point a finger, find fault in others or even make a judgment. We do have liberty to call out sin when we see it. But we must be careful not to judge the sinner. That's a very fine line to walk. Where is our burden to win that sinner to Christ, see them saved and watch them repent of sin, just as we did? Isn’t that what we are called to do? Jesus called, empowered and taught His disciples to spread the gospel so others would believe in Him and call upon Him for forgiveness of sin. I realize this is a message we have all heard many times. But it benefits us to have our hearts refreshed. especially during the day and times we live in. Christian let’s find our place as disciples for the gospel and the Great Commission. We are disciples, not Lords. It is our place to follow the instructions of Jesus and serve Him as the body of Christ. We are His hands and feet to the world we live in. Are we extending the hands of Jesus to those needing it most? Are we carrying His gospel to those needing it most? Those I am referring too will be those suffering the most, those who have hit bottom and are looking for a hand up. Do we really want to see them?
Third, the Lord calls us out. How easy it is for us to spot small sin in the lives of others and neglect larger sin in our personal lives! Wow, this really hits home. You may want to stop reading right here and move on, but please don’t. There is a reason Jesus grabbed our attention. Let’s be honest, we all are prone to say look at him or her to justify sin, fault or failure in our own life. We will even go far enough to seek out those who will agree with us and support our position. But here is the problem Jesus points out. How can we justify pointing out sin in someone else's life if we refuse to deal with our own? This is the definition of a hypocrite! Jesus was constantly calling out the Pharisees and Temple leadership for hypocrisy. He doesn't want His disciples falling into the same trap. He doesn't want you and I to fall into the same trap. Our priority should be our own life. Daily we should be conscience about what we say, how we present ourselves or what we participate in. Living a life that identifies our personal sin first gives us credibility with others. And boosts their confidence in the Lord to help them through the situation they are in. Also, we can’t cover up our sins by spotlighting the sins of others. Sooner or later our sins will come to light. Sooner or later we must face what we currently may be hiding from. This is tough to hear and even tougher to admit too. We must if we’re going to be the influence we are called to be.
Fourth and my final point is the spiritual effect our attitude about sin has on our lives. We are to bear fruit for the Lord. That is what we are told to do, right! I have fruit trees on my small property and if I want to harvest from them, I must do a few things every year. First, I must feed them to make sure they have what is necessary to be strong and healthy. second, I must prune them. Cutting away dead growth allows the tree to reproduce living and healthy branches for the coming year. Third, I must make sure the old dead fruit is taken away so that bugs, disease and animals will not damage my tree.
Our spiritual life is just like those fruit trees. If we don’t feed ourselves with the word of God, our Bible, on a regular basis we cannot become strong and healthy. It is God's word that strengthens us for the battles we face from our enemy the devil. The Lord wants to take away the parts of our life that do not honor Him. Is there forgiven sin that we still hold onto? God wants to prune that away but if we keep grafting it back in our life there is no room for new and fruitful opportunities. Let God remove what doesn't produce fruit in our lives. Finally, the work of the old man, the person you were before being saved needs to be a thing of the past. Don’t hang on to that old person, they will only infest your new life with disease and damage.
This is how we influence others, by allowing our lives to be changed from the inside out. Until we meet again, in print or in person, may God bless you daily.