In my regular Bible reading today I read through Mark chapter 3, and one particular phrase really stuck out to me.
And [Jesus] entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they [the Pharisees] watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. ~ Mark 3:1-5 ~ (emphasis mine)
They watched him…that they might accuse him.
I wonder how often I allow myself to enter or remain in that state of heart.
I am certain that I don’t engage in “setting up” people as the Pharisees often did with Christ, yet I do observe others as they enter challenging situations and admittedly I often watch how they handle themselves — intentionally looking for fault.
As mothers we are charged with the oversight of our families, and as church members we’re quite often charged with the oversight of some practical aspect of church or service. In settings such as these it is important that we take our responsibilities seriously, and provide training and correction as needed as well as encouragement. Our responsible oversight in the areas we’re charged with should be taken seriously.
Yet, how often do we slip from responsible oversight to nit-picking and fault finding?
How often do we presume to oversee people over whom we have no actual authority?
How often do we watch those we’re called to love, almost eagerly waiting for them to give us a reason to complain or to prove our negative assumptions about them to be true?
How often are we just looking for an excuse to accuse or complain?
Let us not be as the Pharisees, intentionally finding fault. Let us not be as the foolish woman who tears down her house with her own hands (Prov 14:1). Let us not lie in wait against our husbands or our children just biding our time until we find the next reason to accuse them.
Let us not lie in wait against our brothers and sisters in Christ – especially those in our local body – but rather seek to encourage one another, exhort one another, and maintain unity & love with each other. After all, that’s meant to be one way the world knows that we’re disciples of Christ (John 13:35).
I…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ~ Ephesians 4:1-3 ~