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Becoming like Jesus?
- Jacob Ninan
When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus saying she had been caught in adultery, He told them that the one who had no sin could throw the first stone at her (Jn.8:7). Then they all left the scene, one by one, starting with the older ones! Whenever we take delight in finding fault with others, that is the opinion we have about ourselves, that we don't have any fault!
Actually, most of us will never claim that we are without sin. We are quick to admit we are imperfect. Except when it comes to a specific sin. Then we try to claim we never did it, and if that won't work, we will say we had a very good reason for doing it, especially since it was someone else who started it. Then we turn the full focus on this other person, and start throwing stones at him. We even forget in the process that we did anything wrong.
If no one buys this argument from us, we may admit we did wrong, but not from the heart but only because we have been caught. Now our goal is to minimise the punishment!
This is our automatic self-protection mechanism and its sequence. And yet we are convinced that we want to become like Jesus!
How can we become like Jesus if we won't even acknowledge where we are unlike Jesus? Becoming like Jesus is not about increasing in knowledge about Jesus or how much we feel moved when we sing His praises. Such knowledge has the ability to make us feel we've got it (1Co.8:1), especially if we have knowledge many others don't have! To become like Jesus is to have His attitude towards people (Php.2:5-8), to be able to think like Jesus and behave like Jesus in the different circumstances of our life. To get to this involves denying ourselves when we are unlike Jesus and choosing to behave like Jesus through the help of the Holy Spirit (Ro.8:13). Certainly we can never do this if we are doing our best always to turn away from looking at our faults, and throwing stones at others.
What kind of people are we now? Are we the type who find delight in discussing other people's faults? Then we are not like Jesus but like the hypocritical Pharisees who thought they were always right and looked down on others (Lk.18:9). Do we notice other people's faults but we never tell them about it but only share this observation with others? Jesus came to save us, but we seem to be involved with backbiting instead! When we have to discuss someone's fault with another person as a part of our responsibility is our attitude one of concern and empathy? Then we are beginning to become like Jesus!
Our challenge becomes greater when someone has done us harm, we are suffering from it, and we have to discuss about it. Is all our talk then only about his fault and there is no mention about what we have done wrong? Keeping quiet about his fault and talking about our faults is being super spiritual, but to hold both sides together in balance is to become mature like Christ (Jn.18:23).
Let's get real about becoming like Jesus.