Suggested Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Today’s focus Verse: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.—2 Timothy 3:16
I enjoy reading from various translations of the Bible sometimes another translation opens us up to a new way of thinking about or understanding a portion or Scripture or teaching. For example, this verse reads like this in the New Living Translation,
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”
And in The Message, which is an extremely popular version also, it says,
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way.”
All three translations say the same thing: God’s word, every part of the Scriptures is useful to help us live more Christlike and also useful for helping us see our faults and correcting us when we are wrong.
Whatever translation we love to read or go to we can see how God’s Word is purposed to make us better people and is affective to produce good in us. God knows just the right thing to say and the right way to say it and we can accept admonishment or revealment of our faults and sin coming from him. Somehow, even if we feel convicted by something we read in the Scriptures it is not the same as when others try to point out our faults, even when they attempt to do it in a loving or well-meaning way which never comes across well and is usually offensive, hurtful, and causes us to resent what they are saying because it feels more like condemnation and judgment. One sinner cannot tell another sinner how terrible their sin is or how many flaws they have.
This verse reminds me that our major task, mission, and focus with others is not to point out their faults but to love and accept others as they are. Loving and accepting does not mean approval or thinking others are right in what they do or how they go about things, but simply removing ourselves from the responsibility of showing or pointing out to them what their flaws or sins are. When God was speaking to the people through the prophet Jeremiah, he reminded them,
“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.” (Jer. 31:34)
Knowing God and knowing our own sinfulness is part of the New Covenant God made with us. He said we will no longer need anyone else to make us aware of his presence and existence or of our own faults and sin because we will already know, it will be in our own heart. The Scriptures only affirm and reveal what we already know in our heart, so no one’s sin, or faults will escape them. God will deal with each one of us according to his will and purpose for us. And he knows better than we do when someone needs to be dealt with gently or more severely. Whether the need is for stern rebuke and conviction or gracious and merciful revealment. He knows when there is resistance, arrogance, and pride to be dealt with and when someone is already broken and teetering on the edge.
What a relief and how encouraging we don’t have to take on that responsibility in the lives of others! We can (and should) pray for them and point them to the Word of God and be assured there they will discover all they need to know and see and be taught, enlightened, and guided to do what is right and learn how to please God with their lives. What a comfort to know God has given us the easy end of the deal: ours is to love, pray for, example Christlike behavior and living, forgive, point others to his Word and Jesus, and he will take care of the rest. Let’s Pray,
Lord, through your Word train us in righteousness so we may be equipped for every good work which includes exampling godly living, loving, forgiving, praying for, and referring others to your Word where they too will be counseled and guided in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
Reflection: How does today’s devotion encourage you to look at and relate to others from a different perspective?