[forthright] Look Who's Guilty!

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2010 04:18:59 -0800 (PST)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

A story of friends. A study of salvation. 'Discovering
the Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall.
http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

Look Who's Guilty!
 by Tim Hall

A story carried by Reuters News Service on February 25,
2010 will surely bring many vengeful smiles.

In an effort to raise revenue during the worldwide
recession, the government of Bulgaria has ordered an
investigation of civil servants who have outstanding
fines.

Found during the search were more than 400 tax
inspectors who have failed to pay traffic tickets. The
amount of the fines will be deducted from the February
pay of each of these.

How can one occupy a position of "tax inspector" and
yet not pay what they themselves owe? You can be sure
no one will be hosting a telethon to raise funds for
these poor public officials!

This story immediately brings to mind the warning given
by Jesus in Matthew 7:1-3:

   "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with
   what judgment you judge, you will be judged;
   and with the measure you use, it will be
   measured back to you. And why do you look at
   the speck in your brother's eye, but do not
   consider the plank in your own eye?" (NKJV).

Finding fault in others is quite common. Seeing that
you aren’t perfect helps me feel a little less guilty
for my faults. I may even feel superior upon
discovering your shortcomings!

Since such scrutiny makes me feel good (in a bad sort
of way), judging others becomes a habit.

The clearest warning against such a mind-set is found
in Matthew 18:21-35. A servant who had been forgiven a
staggering debt would not forgive a fellow-servant's
trivial debt.

In the process the ungrateful servant forfeited his own
mercy. In the hands of the torturers he undoubtedly
regretted his judgmental ways.

Don't miss the point of the parable: "So my heavenly
father also will do to you if each of you, from his
heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" 
(Matthew 18:35).

As we inspect the lives of those around us, handing out
citations for each fault discovered, let us remember to
begin with our own lives. Thus humbled by the reality
of our own failings, perhaps we’ll show the mercy God
expects of his people.

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" 
(Ephesians 4:32).

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