Copyright © 2008 Michael Hugh Sprawson
The Mature Mind
It is important that we are able to see clearly, because, accuracy in all that we say and do requires clarity of thought. For clarity of thought to come richly into our hearts, and thus our lives, we need to establish an honourable mind set. Most of the worlds woes can be traced back to the ungodly habit of supporting a destructive, inordinate bias. It's not only people in all walks of life that have this problem, religious groups too may be afflicted with stubborn points of view, even though they have nothing to do with the actual facts at hand.
Bias may be recognised when distortions are allowed to be the rule by which one makes choices. We know the distortion of vision we suffer from while driving a car with a dirty windscreen. And of course it's much, much worse while driving in the rain at night time, when the street lighting adds to our difficulty of seeing clearly, by exaggerating the distortion.
This 'exaggerating' can be likened to those people who will do their utmost to 'persuade' others of their point of 'view.' Pathological liars are fairly blatant in their insistence that what they are saying is true, even when their story is obviously false. This type of liar will simply continue trying out different 'stories' until they find one that is accepted by their intended victim. The apparent 'conviction' that they present with unabashed enthusiasm, is that which tends to blind the naïve, much the same as dirt on a car's windscreen distorts street lighting, making night-time driving hazardous.
To know the truth on a matter, we need to know the circumstances. For instance, once when I was driving not far from home, I had to stop and let these two donkeys finish taking their time crossing the road. I didn't let it bother me as I had plenty of time. Soon enough they got to the other side and I was able to continue on my journey. I don't know what you have in mind as you read this story, but the reality is this, they were not dopey pedestrians, but two actual donkeys. For whatever reason, some people allow their view of others to become judgmental, even though they have no right to do so.
John the baptiser let the people of his day know of a much better way:
The intended purpose of this is that, All flesh shall see God's salvation. Lk 3:6 . It's most encouraging for lovers of righteousness, that God desires that all peoples come to know the way of Godliness, so they may be blessed with the peace that passes understanding.
Their thinking concerning judging others needed to be corrected. This is what Jesus is saying in the gospel of John. So let us consider what He said about a man who was born blind:
Yes, that's correct, it was Jesus' own disciples who asked Him this question. Jesus knew that His Father was using people with disabilities that the works of God might be revealed in them for His glory. How futile and woeful it is for others to pass unflattering comments upon decent people who are afflicted with difficulties. Also, let us look at the incident that Paul had with the viper in the book of Acts right after they had survived a shipwreck:
It is as they said, No doubt this man is a murderer, no doubt indeed! They were in 'no doubt,' how's that for surety? and there was no evidence at all, but to them, No doubt this man is a murderer. Then, after they saw that he didn't die, they went to the other extreme and, changed their minds, and said that he was a god. This, or so it seems, is the end result of trusting in one's own "wisdom" and probably, still in no doubt!
John the baptiser let the people of his day know that their complacency needed to be overcome;
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance! Mt 3:7,8.
John let them know that there was no confidence to be had by simply saying that We have Abraham for our father; Lk 3:8, but that repentance was recognised by bringing forth, fruit worthy of repentance! Mt 3:8.
Encouragingly, there were delightful people such as Anna who did show the love of God in her life, Lk 2:36-38:
It's always a great delight to come across people like Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, who like other humble and delightful souls, looked to God Himself for comfort, and not the self promoting worldly people, some of whom John called, You offspring of vipers, Mt 3:7. And just like the Gentiles, the Jews themselves had to be baptized, no exceptions, it's as Paul said;
It is Jesus Himself who teaches, "take no confidence in material success":
After Jesus had taught them not to put their trust in material riches, He finishes by saying to the unwise man, You foolish one. No one likes to be called foolish, not by anyone, but to be called such by the God of Heaven is surely the most devastating! And how many there are who trust in their work of service to gain acceptance, and thus salvation, the very thing that the apostle Paul avoided during his life of loving service;
And as Paul later went on to say;
Jesus came to let the people of his day know their fruit bearing needed to be corrected;
The apostle Paul identified the fruit produced in the lives of the righteous:
After quite a few hundred years of the Law of Moses, many still hadn't come to understand that the greatest thing for anyone to do is to bear the fruit of the spirit in their personal lives. But Paul, the one who was once an enemy of the Lord's people, came to realise, and then put into practice, the teachings above in the Galatians letter.
However, Paul was a realist and knew that some would do anything except that which is morally and spiritually correct as we may see below, where Paul has listed the things which are opposite to the Godly way of the Spirit:
We need to understand that corrupt people will always be with us; though not of us. However, we do need to be aware that there will alwayswe hope, always be those noble souls who, like those coming to John the Baptiser asked what they could do to be in a right relationship with the Lord God of Heaven, again:
And not only people in Jesus' day were in the habit of making unjustified judgements upon others, even in our own day this sort of thing still happens, eg, I was asked by a brother in the church if I thought that he and his wife were guilty of sinning against God. What had brought this on was the fact that they had suffered the sadness of being the knew parents of a baby with a tragic disability. He didn't say how many were of this opinion, but it was enough to cause a great deal of distress to him and his wife. It's sad enough when a much awaited baby is less than perfect, but how much more is the distress when others make unwise, heartless statements that increases their pain unnecessarily. (Remember the man born blind? Things haven't changed much have they?)
In reply I gave this illustration, "An honourable man was walking along the footpath one day, going about his lawful business. When a drunk driver mounted the footpath and hit him, injuring him very badly. The question is this, 'was it sin that caused the pedestrian to suffer?' Well yes, of course it was, however it wasn't the sin of the pedestrian himself, but the sin of the drunk driver." And remember, all of us are sinners in God's eyes, and if God was going to punish us according to our sinful nature, we wouldn't have a chance. But the good news is;
Clarity of mind can only be achieved by those who, hunger and thirst after righteousness, Matt 5:6. Many years after Jesus had uttered these words, the apostle Paul had this to say in his letter to the Romans,:
Do you want clarity of mind? Well then, heed this message of wisdom from the apostle Paul;
And you too, will be a joyful recipient of, The Mature Mind, with its very rich, and desirable blessings; clarity of thought, speech, and action. Amen, and Amen.