Greetings MOL Family!
Do you remember the lesson that we began to look at, last week? I’d like to have us meditate on these principles, as we continue with part 2, today…
Even the repentant, converted Peter needed to learn this lesson of, shall I say, minding his own business. That’s the way we’d put it, isn’t it? Just mind your own business. And there are three reasons I’d like to give you as to why this is good counsel:
In the first place, every moment we spend, like Peter, wondering about this man’s work, his duty and so forth, is that much time lost from, doing what? Our own business. We have our own row to hoe, our own garden to weed, our own kitchen to work in, our own work for the Master to do. The enemy seeks to divert us. And if he can’t divert us with things out in the world, he may divert us by an undue curiosity concerning the duties of others, an undue concern with how they’re doing that work. He knows that thus he will distract us from our own responsibilities.
In driving, it’s important to keep my eyes where? On the road.
There’s a second reason. If Jesus has told me, “Follow Me,” (that is follow Jesus) the only way I can follow Him is to keep looking to Him. And if I start looking at someone else, I may follow them.
There is a church, you know, that claims to be built on Peter. And I am afraid some have followed him in his failures instead of in his successes. Did the Lord give Peter as a pattern to follow? Or John, or any human being? We have just one Pattern.
There is great danger, my friends, in work where we’re associated closely together in becoming so influenced by some human being, this one or that one or the other one, that even though we learn many excellent lessons, we copy their failures. And every human being has weaknesses that it’s fatal for us to copy, right?
There’s a third reason that Jesus doesn’t want us to be unduly concerned with what others are doing. Just as there is danger of our worshiping them, shall I say, by looking at them; there’s also danger of our criticizing them. One danger is on one side of the road; the other is on the other side of the road. The middle of the road is to just keep looking to Jesus, straight ahead.
Frequently we are involved with the same individual in both of these extremes. The very man that today we’re ready to do anything for, tomorrow we may be ready to give him a kick as we find that he’s made of mud just like other human beings. Look how it is in the political world. A man may be way up there today. His Gallop pole may be running high. Everybody thinks he’s doing a wonderful job. But tomorrow, watch it; they’re ready to kick him out.
So, my dear friends, in turning our eyes off Jesus, we either unduly praise men or else we criticize them, condemn them, find fault. The answer all the way through is just what Jesus said to Peter:
What is that to thee? Follow thou Me. – John 21:22
Now we were studying, in lesson 2, about not taking the sword. And what sword, especially did we study? The tongue. Jesus said to Peter, “You’d better put that sword up. You’ll get hurt. If you use the sword on others, you’re going to get the sword on yourself. Not only that, My Father can take care of things. And not only that, this must be, and you mustn’t interfere.”
The question was asked by someone, and *we want to add the answer to today’s lesson: What about the sighing and crying that Ezekiel speaks of in the ninth chapter of his book? It’s plainly stated there that the only ones who will get the seal are those that do what? Sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done in the land. How can we sigh and cry for the abominations that are done in the land and still not be critical and faultfinding?
Well, my dear friends, the two are not incompatible. In fact, the only way you can succeed in one is to do the other. The sighing and crying is a sign that our hearts are knit with Jesus in sorrow over sin. And I want to tell you something, friends, if we’re really sorry about sin, we’re not anxious to talk about it. When somebody comes and says: “Oh did you hear what so and so did?” “Why no. What did they do?” “Oh, they did this. They did this. They did this.”
Believe me friends, whether that individual knows it or not, he may not even be conscious of it, deep down in his heart there may be something that really is feeling, “Oh, I wish I could do that and get away with it.” That’s why the Bible says:
Thou that judgest doest the same things” Romans 2:1
God looks at the motive. No. If we are really sorry for sin, and we sigh and cry before God (in prayer) about it, we’ll want to keep the knowledge of it in as small a circle as possible. Let me illustrate it. Here’s a father and mother and several children. Something happens in the home. Maybe one of the children has been disobedient and has had to have a spanking. Suppose the other children run off to the neighbors and tell all the other children about the spanking that Johnny got. Is that a good spirit?
“Well, what did he get a spanking for?” “Oh, he wouldn’t do what Mother told him to.” No. If we have love we will do what? Turning to something Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:8:
And above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity [love] shall. – 1 Peter 4:8
…cover the multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8
Can you cry and sigh about something and still want to cover it? By all means. That’s why you want to cover it. You’re sorry, you’re ashamed for Jesus, that anything wrong should be in your family, in the church. And so, the spirit of sighing and crying and the spirit of covering sin through love’s sake go right together.
Let us read you something very interesting on this:
In this world we shall become hopelessly perplexed, as the devil wants us to be, if we keep looking upon those things that are perplexing; for by dwelling upon them, and talking of them, we become discouraged. In criticizing others because they fail to manifest love, we shall kill the precious plant of love in our own hearts. – Our High Calling, pg. 246
Think of it, friends. Here’s something going on, some trouble, some problem. Some people aren’t being loving. They’re criticizing one another. And if I get to criticizing them because of their criticizing, I’ll do what to the plant of love in my own heart? I’ll kill it.
Let us fear to dwell upon, to behold and talk of the great mistakes that others are making by not manifesting love to their brethren and sisters. – Ibid
So, my dear friends, we can sigh and cry over sin, any sin that we see in others, or in our own hearts. We can get down on our knees before God and sigh and cry, I was going to say, as long as we want to. There’s no danger, friends, of doing too much of that. But I’ll tell you this: the more we will, in secret prayer, plead with God over the sins of the church, the less we will want to get up from our knees and go out and publish to the world (or even to our brothers and sisters) the mistakes that others are making. I repeat, the two things go together.
Let’s ask God to help us to learn the lessons that Jesus taught Peter. Shall we do that?
One such lesson, as we will look at next week, is that we all must – “Take Up The Cross”. Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.