series: Red Letter City
teacher: Jacob Bender
date: May 15, 2016
scriptures: Matthew 5:27-30, Matthew 23:3, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:27, Luke 8:17, Luke 12:3, Romans 2:16, Genesis 39, Jeremiah 7:30-31, Ephesians 2:10, Luke 22:15, Psalm 51:10, James 1:17.
I remember picking up my kids from school on Spring afternoon... it was just a beautiful day outside and we were driving home. and on the way home, there is this stop sign at Gratiot that we have to stop at and sometimes its really easy to turn onto Gratiot and other times its a total zoo… so much traffic just flying by and the only way to merge onto the street is to turn into the left turn lane and then make your way over… it was one of those days… and even after I had merged into the lane, it only took a little while before the side of traffic I was on came to almost a stop, just tons of cars, and on the other side cars were just FLYING by.
and I looked over, and standing in the middle lane, the left turn lane, was a man just standing there on his phone, laughing. Just standing there in the middle of traffic. He wasn’t really even trying to cross the street, he looked like he was just enjoying a conversation in the middle of traffic, hanging out between the yellow lines. People were trying to get into the left lane from both directions and he was preventing them. It was almost like he didn’t even notice what it was that he was surrounded by… like he didn’t hear the horns or understand the frustration he was causing actual drivers whom that part of the road is supposed to belong to.
He was so engaged in the world of his seemingly happy conversation, that he paid no attention to the potentially deadly environment that he was literally standing in the center of himself, or the way it messed up other people just trying to get through their commute. and I merged onto the highway and moved on, uncertain of what happened to that guy. But I know this. What he was doing was causing grief and frustration to others… probably unbeknownst to him. and if someone who needed to turn got over and didn’t see him…
he wouldn’t be laughing on the phone anymore.
It had the potential to fall apart very quickly.
It was a fine line he was walking on, one that he willingly gave up a certain level of control over his own safety for, to engage in this moment privately on the phone, yet surrounded by hundreds of cars who could take him out at any moment whether on purpose or on accident. I think that sometimes we find ourselves in trouble, and we don’t even realize it. We don’t realize that we are hurting others. We don’t realize the danger that we are in. We are think things like, “Oh, it is only in my mind… it will never go beyond this… and its not hurting anyone.” and we forget that devastating reality behind iniquity…
“whatever your eye hooks to, multiplies.”
and you can think that you have your own little private life in your head and think that its not affecting anyone but I assure you, that as whatever your eye hooks to, begins to multiple your life will begin to change. And you may not notice it right away, but it will wear on those around you. It will cause grief to people and they may not even be able to figure out why. But the truth is… that the reason that Jesus deals so dramatically with the Spirit of the law is because he knows that where your thoughts go… and what you dwell on, is a window into what you are becoming.
So Jesus says “lets cut this off at the source.”