Reflections: The Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 6:36-42

Daily Lectionary: Judges 6:1-24; Acts 14:19-15:4

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We judge everything, everywhere, all the time. Do you like the food you eat? Do you like the outfit your friend is wearing? Do you agree with the post you just read? Every day we determine whether we like things or not,  or if someone is right or wrong. Our lives are filled with constant judging. 

Judging, if done in light of the teachings of the Holy Scripture, is not a bad thing. We are told, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). All of us are called by God to search the Scriptures and to use this knowledge and the teachings of Christ to judge right from wrong.

However, there is a difference between using the measure of God’s Word to judge and using our own measure. As sinful and selfish creatures, we want what we think is best for us and care little for the good of our neighbor. Often our heart’s desire is contrary to the things of God. We condemn and judge on the basis of our authority instead of realizing the truth that all people are under the judgment of Holy Scripture. When this happens, we are no longer being merciful. Instead, we are condemning our brother for a speck, all the while ignoring the logs in our own eyes. This is wrong, it is sin, and we need to confess our transgressions to the Lord.

The psalmist writes, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 103:8). The mercy of the Father and the love that He had for His fallen creation is what brought Christ to earth. Jesus came, took our sins, received our punishment, was judged in our place, and died on the Cross so that we might receive everlasting mercy. Because Christ shed His blood for you, you are no longer condemned. Forgiven by God, we are now to show mercy and to forgive in the same way.

What a great gift we received from the hands of Jesus! Using the same measure that we have received, we may–by faith–love, forgive, and live as God intends us to. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, grant that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Your governance that Your Church may joyfully serve You in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity)

-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.