Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Luke 12:57-59

Luke 12:57-59
And why do you not judge for yourselves what is righteous?  For as you depart with your adversary to the chief ruler, give some sort of gain while still being in the road to be set free from him, lest he should drag you forcibly to a judge, and he should hand you over to an officer, and the officer will throw you into prison.  I say to you, you should surely not come out from that place until you should give back even the smallest amount.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Again, let’s study this passage in reverse.  We end with a person being dragged before a ruler, who hands them over to a judge, who gives them to some sort of official, who throws them in prison.  The person doesn’t get out of prison until the whole debt – even up to the smallest amount – is completely paid.  I’ve always found this amusing, because I’ve wondered how it is that a person is to pay off a debt from inside prison!  Often, a person couldn’t do this.  Therefore, paying off the debt became a burden thrust on the person’s family.  They couldn’t likely pay, either.  So what Jesus is teaching us here is that when things are made official, consequences are often official, thorough, and harsh.  When we involve people who are not personally invested and are instead merely concerned with upholding the law, we usually get a true judgment, but it is a judgment that is uncompassionate made without true concern for the individuals involved.

Why can this be a bad thing?  Have you ever been involved in a situation where someone who wasn’t really involved had to make a decision and the decision was right but not concerned with the actual people involved?  How did that feel?

Second Thought:

Furthermore, not only is there often a lack of compassion when judgment is made by people who are not personally invested, it also often takes a long time to resolve.  Going through official means usually implies a proper chain of command and a long drawn out process.  It takes time to go from a person of influence, to an actual judge, to a person who can hand out the consequences, to the resolution of those consequences.  When things are unable to be resolved by the people involved, not only do we get the dissatisfaction of having a result that is typically uncompassionate, we get a result that is so far removed from the incident that the conclusion does not usually bring satisfaction, either.

Why is it a good thing to have our problems resolved as closely to the incident as possible?  Have you ever been disappointed – even when winning a dispute – because of how long it took to win?

Third Thought:

Now we return to the beginning.  Jesus’ advice is to settle matters personally among ourselves.  If two people have a dispute, the best solution is for those people to come to an agreement between themselves and to have both parties live up to the agreement.  I know, that is easier said than done, because human beings are always looking out for themselves, not looking out for the interests of others and living up to their word, too.  But it is still the best solution.  Problems are always resolved most satisfactorily when they are able to be resolved between people who care about the issue and in a timely manner so the resolution is still relevant to the issue.

When have you been able to satisfactorily settle a dispute without involving official measures?  How do you feel about such resolution?  Do you agree with Jesus’ teaching here about settling personal matters yourselves versus involving official authorities?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 13:1-5
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