9 things (July 20)

There has been a lot going on in the last month. Illness, traveling, illness…sometimes the desire to sit and rest is overwhelming.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ words “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” We don’t think about this nearly enough. Which authoritarian husband would genuinely want to be treated the way he treats his wife and family?

My brother Jim helped me record and mix some hymns that I played on the piano. They are now available on most services. I don’t know what I think about that. Mostly anxious, I guess. But I hope that people like them.

“Do unto others…” Maybe think about it next time you revile your server at the restaurant; or talk to your co-worker with contempt and scorn; or dismiss fellow believers as idiots and not worth your time…

I don’t know of any adults that would learn how to be a better human by way of a good beating. I sometimes wonder why we think our kids will learn how to be better humans by way of a good beating…

Diane Langberg once said that the greatest mission field for the church is the traumatized humans in every community. She is correct. The word in the Bible for traumatized (oppressed – anaw) is usually translated “meek”, or “poor” or “humble”. Those are the ones that Jesus came to preach the good news to, according to Isaiah 61:1.

Unfortunately, the traumatized are the ones we most frequently ignore, or even revile, since they generally do not fit our world and life view. Their behavior makes us uncomfortable and their existence threatens our comfort levels.

When I think about “do unto others”, I can’t help but think about how Micah describes the kingdom of God, as “everyone sitting under their own vine and their own fig tree.” It is marked by contentment and peace. There are no busybodies, no one telling you everything you are doing wrong, no enemies, no fear. I want to invite you to sit with me under my vine and under my fig tree in the kingdom and visit you under yours. Isn’t that what the gospel is all about?

Jesus puts to death our sinful inclinations, our fleshly lusts and gives us a clean heart, filling us with his spirit, so that we will finally learn to just sit and rest, praising him forever, resting in his creative work, and saying with him, “Behold! It is very good!” This is the Sabbath of God, and we will rejoice in it.


Filed under 9 things

6 responses to “9 things (July 20)

  1. Annette


  2. It all resinates. Id love to visit under vine and fig trees . Food and drink provided without cooking, how peaceful. Shalom.

  3. wingingit

    So beautiful, Sam.
    Such a good word.
    Thank you for this.

  4. Bunkababy

    I sit under our own vine and fig tree . It’s tranquil.

  5. Anu Riley

    I once read a heartbreaking comment about how they were raised: my parents were too afraid to deal with their own traumas, and as a result they both caused and subsequently ignored mine.

    For me, I think the opposite of truth is NOT necessarily outright deception, but clever and cunning confusion. Starting with truth and “scrambling” it so that it sounds like, seems like truth, but with carefully inserted “loopholes.” They have sidestepped the truth, but still insist that you have been set free.

    ““Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” We don’t think about this nearly enough.”

    IMO, we may think and talk about this “nearly enough,” but when we do so, we insert confusions and loopholes that pervert the truth but profess that it really is the truth.

    When I read the words “do unto others,” this perversion came to mind: the word “others” has been weaponized so that such “others” are the ones who are not like us, not with us and not for us. The intent of that verse (to encourage empathy with and for others) is obliterated, and instead inserts being fearful of such “others.”

    The verse is reversed as if such “others” want you to fear them; want to have power over you, aim to take away your rights. Even worse? They started it, not you. They did this unto you, so you are justified in doing that unto them in return. You are only giving back unto them, what they gave unto you first. They must start treating you as you already and always deserved, but you will only treat them as they deserve unless they have earned it.

    It is tricky, because Biblical boundaries are real and relevant. A sincere born again believer has left the kingdom of darkness and crossed over to the kingdom of light. There is and should be a huge difference in how that darkness is viewed and treated. However, it is not Biblical to fear and hate those who are still trapped in the darkness that you only escaped from because Christ made such an escape possible.

    The other “confusion” is just as tragic, and stems from Pastor’s words about abusing our loved ones: you do unto others NOT as what you “would have” done unto you, but simply what was already done unto you. You abuse others because you were abused; that is all you knew then and that is all you know now. That is a sick, sad reality of being trained in unrighteousness,

    But I do believe the power of Christ can undo what was done unto you as you did not want, so that you can do unto others as you would want.

    However, one of the small but significant “slivers” of confusion in this? Those that had the power to abuse, choose to abuse those who have no power. This can cause you to believe that the only way to undo this, is to satisfy your voracious hunger for power in order to do unto others exactly what was done unto you. You feel entitled to abuse others because others felt entitled to abuse you first.

    You won’t necessarily admit that you were abused, or that you are abusing others, however. Those that abuse are usually authoritatively empowered to do unto you to as they saw fit. so lets say you were beaten as a child to “motivate” you to study and succeed, and it WORKED. It destroyed you then, but you now dilute it by pointing to its results. You now expect to be given the same authoritative empowerment to give to others what was given unto you, because it worked.

    I honestly think the best way to defeat and debunk such “confusions” is simple: “I want to invite you to sit with me under my vine and under my fig tree in the kingdom and visit you under yours.”

    I literally sat under a tree with someone on a semi-regular basis; and I listened, and I learned. Empathy comes from Him from within.

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