Tuesday, December 15, 2015

You Did Not Believe Him

By Melanie Rigney

Thus says the Lord: Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted, to the tyrannical city! She hears no voice, accepts no correction; in the child to guide them. (Zephaniah 3:1-2)

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  (Psalm 34:7a)

Jesus said to (the chief priests and elders), “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Matthew 21:31-32)

Lord, at times my heart and head are full of judgment. Guide me to a place where I live to serve You and You alone, without concern about the intentions of those around me.

The saying didn’t start in my workplace, but we’ve fully embraced it: Assume noble intent. It means that when someone rips you apart for a presentation or a view expressed, you respond as if the person truly meant to help. Maybe he or she didn’t say it the right way. Or maybe you’ve crossed swords with this person time and time again, but this is the occasion that he or she really is attempting to assist you. It’s great in theory, challenging in practice. But we’re all making progress.
By Andrey Mironov 777 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0
via Wikimedia Commons

The chief priests and elders weren’t much into assuming noble intent. They judged everyone by a very rigid ruler. If you didn’t measure up, you weren’t part of the group. Never mind about their own mistakes. Never mind about the progress the tax collectors and prostitutes might have made in the past week, month, or year. What mattered was how well one outwardly lived by the rules. That was all.

We shake our heads over this judgmental attitude of the religious leaders of Jesus’s time. And yet… we quickly turn the other way when that annoying person seems to be approaching us. We guard ourselves against the colleague who has taken credit for our work, over and over again. We assume anyone who speaks or dresses different from us is bad, is not to be trusted. We cast noble intent aside. And when we do, we also cast aside one of the very most important rules Jesus gave us: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Assume noble intent, just for one hour, today in a situation you find challenging. Talk with the Lord about how you feel afterward.

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