What Standard Will You Use?

Today’s Gospel reading is from Luke 6:36-38:

Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap; because the standard you use will be the standard used for you.”

This is part of the great teaching known as the Beatitudes. The passage immediately preceding the one quoted are the admonishment to love our enemies.

This is instructive on the passage in question. And the proof is in the text itself. We are to be “compassionate as our Father is compassionate. This is certainly well beyond the compassion that we would expect from others towards ourselves.

As to giving, it is said that we will receive not an equal return, but a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, overflowing.

In the end, the standard we use is the one that will be used upon us. So the lesson really is, we will be treated exactly as we treat others, but if we extend ourselves beyond the simple standard of equality; if we approach the full self-giving of the Father, then we will reap far beyond anything we could dream.

It’s a tricky concept I realize. When others strike out at us, we don’t respond in kind. When they do us harm, we forgive, when they judge, we do not. But when we act by offering compassion, giving of our goods and services, in other words, stepping forward and DOING, then our return will be greater than an equal offering to us.

If we keep careful records and only give the “proper” tithe, if we volunteer, but only the “proper” amount of time, if we only do that which is required, then we miss the mark. By giving fully, without thought as we are ABLE, then we will reap a return that is OVERFLOWING.

What Jesus is saying here is that we love, are compassionate, are charitable, beyond measure, in the way that our Father offers these things to us. In emulating the Son we encounter the true nature of our being, and it is overflowing. Here is where we seek to be. Here is the peace of God.

Amen.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tim
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 16:02:07

    Ah, yes, Sherry, so often we speak of God’s unconditional love and goodness, quietly omitting that they’re also uncontained. (I know that’s not a real word, but it works somehow…)

    I love that the lavish blessings that flow from lavish giving land in our lap! We don’t find them under a rock or at the end of a fairy godmother’s wand. Some translations say, “people will give to your bosom,” indicating our compassion and kindness sets in motion opportunities for others to give to us–which sets them up for others to give to them. It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle that not only blesses us, but triggers exponential blessings elsewhere.

    How cool is that?

    Peace, love, and many, many lavish blessings–a lap-full!
    Tim

    Reply

    • Sherry
      Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:22:32

      uncontained is a perfect non word. The giving that is not with thought is where I find ultimately I receive the most blessing. When I’m counting out my giving, I’m never so blessed. Many blessings lavishly going to you!

      Reply

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