These must be very confusing times for some. I can’t imagine what it is like having eaten the bread of political correctness and drank the wine of Obama’s only partially true narrative, that confusion must be profuse.
So many Christians are afraid to judge but we need discernment so badly today. However, conservatives and Christians have been brow-beaten for the past 8 years as being bigots, hypocrites and judgmental. If a Christian makes a judgment call, it’s game on for the name calling, but if a progressive screams “bigot,” no repercussions are given for his or her judgment call on said “bigot.”
What a mess we are living in. It’s a catch 22.
Yet, these are times where discernment is so crucial to not only our safety, but to our salvation.
For example, how can we tell who is an actual refugee and who isn’t? How are we going to discern who is going to be a trustworthy leader after we have seen betrayal after betrayal from the White House?
I don’t know about you, but my trust doesn’t come easily and I don’t think it should.
For example, my friends in Eastern Europe know Christians that are being denied passports simply because of their faith. This is the stuff that isn’t making the news. My friend also just got back from Turkey yesterday and said that the streets were filled with children and women sleeping only on a tiny piece of clothing as a pillow. No bed. No blankets. A sea of 50,000 yet there are Americans out there that trust our government’s judgment on who refugees are and who are not.
And the American people are begging for more of our government’s judgment at this time!
Their judgement and not discernment.
Recently on Change.org, a petition went out to petition the government to allow citizens to privately sponsor POTUS-approved “refugees.”
There is something guiding that man’s decisions that I don’ trust. But now, when we don’t trust someone in leadership, or even running for leadership, we are considered to be divisive and not a team-player, thus equalizing the enemy!
I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, the truth has always been a little divisive. Ok maybe not a little. A Lot.
Take Jesus, for example, the ultimate Truth. Matt.10:34 says,
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”(emphasis mine)
And scripture many times likens truth to a sword. Take Hebrews 4:12,
For the word of God (emphasis mine) is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And who is the Word of God? John 1:14 explains it perfectly.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (emphasis mine)
So now that we know that the Truth has the tendency to divide because it certainly draws out the intentions of the heart. Just like Proverbs 20:5 states,
The heart’s real intentions are like deep water; but a person with discernment draws them out. (CJB)
But how can we have discernment without passing the oh-so dreaded, negative form of judgment?
In comes from not only discernment, but from knowing God’s heart. And this isn’t the first time world history has seen the type of social climate like we are seeing rise up in 2015. The cultural and social values during the times of Jesus were very similar to today’s societal hypocrisies as people exhaustively cry “bigotry” and “insert choice>>_____phobic.”
In Matthew 11, Jesus had just finished teaching His disciples and was heading out to the cities to preach. John the Baptist was in prison at this time and John sent word via John’s disciples to find out if this “Jesus” was actually the Messiah that he had been preaching about his entire life.
This is fascinating because remember that a dove came down from heaven specifically to show John the Baptist as he was immersing in the Jordan river. (Mark 1:10). Yet, John still wanted to make sure this was really the long anticipated Messiah. After all, the man is in prison, there is no CNN, Fox or Social Media and even I have difficulty at times believing all the prophetic things that are coming to pass right now.
And not only that, John the Baptist knew the Torah which means he knew that a matter would be established with two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16). So, it seems only logical to me that John the Baptist was asking for a third witness: The first witness being John leaping in Elizabeth’s womb, the second, being the dove and now asking for the third.
So, Jesus answers John, not with rebuke for unbelief, which Yeshua has no qualms about calling people out on their lack of faith, (This is again why I think Yeshua, being a man of discernment was able to draw out the intentions of John’s heart in asking this because of the verse that says a matter would be established with two or three witnesses), But Yeshua is keeping in step with the laws of physics that YHVH put into place in creation and uses what Euclid of Alexandria discovered and named, Euclidian geometry. The three dimensional illustration that discernment will never be one dimensional, but at least two or three dimensional is a law set in motion by God from the beginning. Even Paul taught using this illustration in Ephesians 3:17-19,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth (emphasis mine),and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.…
The verse says the “love of Christ will surpass knowledge” but the knowledge of the definition of love today is so twisted, I am going to save that can of worms for a later post.
So, now that we realize that Jesus is obviously not calling John the Baptist on a lack of faith, but instead is answering with a semi-cryptic answer that offers a sense of a deep camaraderie between the two. He tells John the insider stuff He is doing, by answering like this: (Matt. 11:4-5)
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus is kind of saying, “hey, these certain miracles should ring some bells to you, John.”
But after this, Jesus concludes his friendly answer with:
“…blessed is he that does not take offense at Me.”
Talk about things that make you go hmmmm….
Why would Jesus feel the need to say that? Well, right after answering John’s question, Jesus starts recounting the ministry of John the Baptist. He starts calling out these people’s hypocrisies at their judgments. He tells them, “One came not eating and drinking and you say he has a demon. I come eating and drinking and you call me a glutton and a drunk.” Jesus is like, “there is just no winning with you folks.”
He just wanted to illustrate the hypocrisies of judgment yet show them their lack of discernment and point out, “I am the one you are NOT to take offense at!”
Ah, Jesus’ juxtaposition is always properly placed! Truth is always a double-edged sword!
Then Jesus goes on to fill his disciples in on one more secret… but only a few would be able to hear it because this next piece of information was going to require faith in the transcendence of the spiritual.
He tells them, “John is Elijah who was to come.”
Did you catch that? The two tenses in the one sentence? That combination insinuates the “was” and the “not yet,” the “still coming” yet “not yet here.”
This is tough stuff for our two-dimensional brains, but… “He who has an ear, let him hear.”
In my favorite translation of the Bible, The Scriptures, it says, “If you are willing to accept it, he (John) is Elijah, who was about to come.”
Those tenses thrown together are a bit confusing. Like, he was headed here, but he didn’t make it, yet he came. And that word “ear” isn’t just referring to the physical ear. It is the Greek word “ous” or “ooce” (Strong’s word 3775 ) which also refers to the “mental” ear as well.
Jesus is basically saying, if you have the where with all in your mind to accept it, you can.
If you read my book, “Faith to move the Mountain of the Heart” this part will make total sense to you. The heart, bowel and mind connection is all the more relevant for understanding this concept! Understanding that connections provides believers with discernment, like Jesus wants us to have.
So that means that if we have the Truth in our bowels, or heart, so to speak, then we can discern just exactly who John the Baptist really is and isn’t. And who Jesus is and who he isn’t!
Fast-forward to 2015 where we are seeing all these prophetic events come to pass, just like the disciples saw in Jesus’ time. We, too need discernment in an age where accusations of judgments are so high just like they were in Matthew 11.
So we need to accept that discernment will always have judgment and that we should not be afraid of it when we know the Truth. We need the “ous” to accept who John the Baptist is, was and is yet to come, so that we can discern the second coming of the Messiah. Elijah will come back at the end of days, and it will also be John the Baptist. Yet if we have the ear to accept it, we will know who he is and not be deceived by the false messiah, like even the elect could be (Matt. 24:24).
In these critical times, we must understand the non-linear, cyclical nature of our Bible and our God. We must understand that we can’t just have two-dimensional. linear thought processes right now and that we need faith in the transcendent to discern, not only the times, but the people in our times, so we don’t wind up on the wrong side of the crowd screaming, “Crucify him.”
©Olivia Reid, 2015
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Photo credits: stillandrestfulwaters.wordpress.com/tag/crucify/