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12. A Greater Maturity

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If John 3:16 is the most widely-known verse in the Bible, then Matthew 7:1 is certainly the most widely-quoted verse. Jesus’ instructions, “Judge not lest ye be judged” form our cultural “Keep Out” sign. Stripped from its original context and intention, this verse is wielded in defense against anyone who might presume to interfere with our unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We use it to persuade others to live and let live, to tolerate our every behavior, and to prevent them from meddling with our choices. But what if Jesus was not trying to teach “tolerance at all costs”? What if perfection is not the prerequisite for addressing shortcomings in others? Perhaps another look at this passage will indicate that it is misunderstood almost as often as it is quoted.

Related Topics: Spiritual Life

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