Monday—This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 22:37 in the New Living Translation (NLT) As you again read through this brief exchange, note 1-3 insights which stick out today that might not have yesterday for you.
Reflect: Medice, cura te ipsum. In Luke 4:23, Jesus quotes this proverb (although He didn’t speak it in Latin) when confronting a crowd in His hometown. When translated to English, the proverb says, “Physician, heal thyself.” The saying boils down to the idea that one should first attend to their own deficits before criticizing the defects in another.
Levied against the message in Matthew where Jesus counsels that one should love their neighbor as themselves, this becomes quite a conundrum. I am critical of myself at times as I know I fall short of the glory of God. So too, I know my neighbor slips up from time to time and falls short as well. But before I can go to another person and guide them in the Way of the Lord, I must first work on my own issues. If followed to the nth degree, this will result in either my achievement of becoming perfect (which is impossible on my own merit), or my never addressing my neighbor with the truth as I am still unworthy of healing others in my imperfect form. Yet people receive treatment from imperfect people all the time!
There are doctors who prescribe a regimented exercise routine because of the positive effects on the heart, and who later step outside to smoke a cigarette. Some of the most ardent Adventists boasting of the health message when promoting a vegetarian diet proceed to slather their own food in gravy and cheese. Preachers and politicians who slam their fists on lecterns calling for sexual purity are discovered entrenched in messy affairs. Does this mean that their message of healing was incorrect?
We are called to heal ourselves first before working on others. But how do we heal ourselves when we can become blind to the dissonance our actions and our intentions create when they are out of line with one another? We may be gifted with hands that can heal but a tongue that can cripple. We may hold beliefs that bring hope, but a lifestyle that devastates. It is in these moments of weakness that we must adapt the proverb into a prayer which says, Medicus, cura mei or “Physician, heal me,” and allow for God to work within us so that we can better work within the world.
Recalibrate: How might reconciling the tension between what you believe to be true and how you act in the world change how you operate in your day to day life?
Respond: Pray for God to reveal to you the things which need to be healed in your heart, your mind, and your soul this week. Ask for Him to begin His healing in you so that you may be better able to serve Christ as He continues to heal the world.
Research: See if you can spot how emotions and logic play a role in your decision making today.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Ask your child about the last time they got hurt. How did it feel? Talk about how sometimes we get hurt on the outside and sometimes we can hurt on the inside, in our hearts. Ask them what makes “owies” feel better.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Everyone gets hurt at some point. Maybe you’ve scraped your knee or even broken your arm! Words can also hurt just as much as falling off your bike does. What words can you use that can help heal other peoples hurts?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
Can you think of a time when you were hurt by something someone said or did? Do you try to hide your pain or are you able to be vulnerable about it? Ask God to give you courage to bring all your pain to Him.