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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Nov 01, 2012 | Comments (0)


Pentecost XXIV Bottom Line Spirituality:Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Pentecost 24

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Worldly thinking is to beware of the scribes who are lawyers. Godly understanding is to beware spiritually of what the law is.

Mark 12:38-44 Beware!

Jesus tells His disciples to beware of scribes. Why for this time did He only single out the scribes and not the Pharisees as well?

The Facts: The "Scribes in the New Testament are also referred to as "lawyers" who were the legal jurists of their day. Mark 1:28, 35, 38; 2:6; 3:22

Worldly thinking looks to the scribes for understanding of Jesus. They perform religious rites for appearance but they devour widow’s houses. Godly thinking looks to Jesus for understanding of the scribe’s law and its meaning.

Women in the time of Jesus and before were not considered to be in the Covenant. Bar Mitzvah was a time young men became adult Jews. This left women out. They had the rights of property. But they did not have property rights. They were treated humanly but not as humans. They had no right to hold property or to inherit it. Only under a rare loop hole of the law could a woman own land. 

We need to understand Jesus’ position concerning women. He treated women equally with men. The scribes were only doing what the Law said to do. This time Jesus is pointing out the inhumanity of the Law rather than the lawyers.

It is not the messenger but the message. He is calling for us to beware of the Law. For Jesus, His Law was to do the loving thing.

“Beware” in Greek  means to perceive by the senses, to feel, to discover by use, to know by experience to have (the power of) understanding to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand, to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine. In other words, it is a spiritual understanding of the issue rather than the factual understanding. Jesus wanted his disciples to look at the law spiritually to see its inequalities, rather than to look at the scribes themselves.

Worldly thinking arguments are started by fighting over what is right and what is wrong in order to find who has the right answer. There is little understanding going on. Each person wants to be understood first so they can get their point across. It uses red flags like, “you always” or “you never” and “why didn’t you do as I told you to do”. Rational arguments generally wind up with a win-lose or a lose-lose result.

Godly spiritual arguments are decided by understanding the other's feelings or position and then to negotiate the solution. Rather than saying “you are angry” the response is “it seems to me like you are angry.” The first results in an argument over “I am NOT angry”. The second is not debatable. It is not a judgment. It is your opinion.

If spiritual arguments get too hot, both sides agree to take an adult time out and a specific time to come back with new understanding. Generally they wind up in a win-win solution with understanding and compassion on both sides.

It is called “a relationship”. 

When was the last time you lost an argument?  No one ever wins an argument. When was the last time you both won the discussion?


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