TRUMP, OWNER OF LAND IN SCOTLAND, TELLS MEXICANS “STAY OUTA MY COUNTRTY!”
and you won’t be judged.
and you won’t be condemned.
and you will be forgiven.
and you will receive gifts —
the full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing, will be put right in your lap. For the measure with which you measure out will be used to measure back to you!”
39 He also told them a parable: “Can one blind man lead another blind man? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his rabbi; but each one, when he is fully trained, will be like his rabbi. 41 So why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, but not notice the log in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the splinter from your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye; then you will see clearly, so that you can remove the splinter from your brother’s eye!
Again, Luke provides teaching which is very simlar to what is found in Matthew 7: 1-5. My explanation is that both of them are drawing from a standardised memory of Jesus’ teaching, that may have been taught and memorised in the assemblies of Jesus. Although Mark does not have most of this material, he does have the “measure for measure” material, which is at the heart of Jesus’ strange teaching here.
I say strange because he appears to say that God will treat us the way we treat others. If we treat them well he will treat us well; if we treat them badly he will treat us badly. If at first that sounds reasonable, we should realise that it pictures a God who will end up behaving as badly as human beings.! Of course we can excuse him/her by seeing it as the “eye for an eye” principle of any justice. Yes, that’s true, but Jesus is reported as being opposed to that principle, and asking people to imitate the compassion of God. So what about this “measure for measure” stuff?
Jesus is saying that those who cut themselves off from patience and compassion, cut themselves off from the patient and compassionate God. Those who invent a condemnatory God will receive condemnation, not because God is unwilling to forgive, but because they think they do not need forgiveness and are unwilling to receive it. Hell, according to Dante, is full of people who want to be there.
Another way of putting this is to say that the “God” we invent is the “God” we get. If our “God” is our own condemnatory selves, we will find ourselves living in a culture of condemation, where our associates are just as likely to condemn us as we are them, and from which both human and divine forgiveness are excluded. The hell on earth which results from this sort of theology can be seen in the condemnatory religious communities of many religions, from the witch hunters of Salem to the infidel killers of Daesh.
In contrast, Jesus was inventing a very different God by means of his images and stories. Convinced of God’s complete goodness, he pointed to him/her by stories of human goodness, never forgetting that he was not defining God by these examples, but only pointing in the right direction. “If you, evil as you are, give good gifts to your childrem, how much more will God give good things to those who love him!” This “how much more” is Jesus’ recognition that no human language can do justice to the goodness of God.
Moreover, holding to a God of generosity and forgiveness creates a culture of generosity and forgiveness, where generous people receive far more than they have given, “full measure, compacted, shaken together and overflowing.” For Luke, the assemblies of Jesus were examples of this culture.
The knock-about comedy of Jesus is well displayed in his picture of a man with a log in his eye trying to remove a speck from his brother’s eye. But it’s not just comedy, as those of us who’ve caught ourselves condeming in others our own besetting sins, can testify. It’s an aspect of the kindness of Jesus that he tries to laugh us out of our self-righteous follies.
The desire to stand in judgement on others, that is, to put oursleves in the place of God, is so powerful and pervasive amongst people that we should be forever grateful to Jesus for his opposition to it.