"Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6.37-38).This was part of my morning devotional reading today as I read through the Gospel according to Luke. These verses always make me skip a beat, and momentarily pause. I've highlighted the four main verbs, and then italicized and underlined the punchline.
First, it doesn't appear to me that Jesus is saying anything here about how God acts toward his children. This is not a divine-human quid pro quo, this-for-that kind of program. Instead, the context is one dealing with people, living daily with others. Jesus is almost sitting in the seat of Solomon here, handing out proverbial wisdom.
Second, the point of the statement: be as charitable and generous as you want others to be toward you. That's it. And really, that's the simple (but not always easy) way to walk through our relationships, our civil discourse, marriages, church fellowships, etc.
"Holy Father, as I look over these important words spoken by your Son, I must first confess I have not been charitable and generous. I have quickly judged others, their motives, actions, and reactions. I have condemned gracelessly; I have carried grudges, and lived tight-fistedly. Have mercy, and forgive me. And help me that I will assume a charitable position toward others (my wife/husband, children, fellow church members, pastor, co-workers,... you fill in the blank). Help me to not so quickly jump into judging him/her/them, condemning, blaming, accusing. Instead, rouse my heart to be quick to forgive, to forgive with the same speed and thoroughness that I want them to forgive me. And help me to loosen my grip on my possessions; that I might begin to give generously, my time, my ear, my love, my money - even to those whom I don't like (and maybe here it would be good to mention those specific people). Father, help me to become merciful, even as you, our Father, are merciful (Luke 6.36). Amen."