Now there is an interesting title, “Did Jesus Misspeak?” Hopefully the title has caught your attention solet’s examine two different passages from the Bible to see if Jesus may have possibly misspoke. Assuming he did not……and that is what I assume we all believe, then we might have some work to do.
The first verse we will examine is:
“Love others as you love yourself.” Mark 12:28-31
The second one is:
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Did He really mean both of these statements? If He did, He must have assumed we were doing well in these two areas. How are we doing? Let’s look deeper.
In the first passage Jesus was answering the Pharisee. Here is that entire section:
“One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with your entire mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
If Jesus wants us to love others as we love ourselves, it presumes we do, in fact, love ourselves as He would want us to. Do we really love ourselves as we should? Do we treat our physical bodies like we should? Do we eat right, exercise often and avoid the things Jesus taught us were bad for us? What about our souls? Do we spend ample time in silence with God? Do we pray as often and in a manner we should? Do we partake of all the gifts of grace our faith has to offer? Do we do a daily examination of conscience? Do we truly seek forgiveness for our sins? Do we wear a mask of false pride acting as if we are sinless? Maybe we don’t love ourselves as much aswe should.
Based on the way many of us fail to truly love ourselves, maybe loving others the same way would not be such a good idea. Perhaps we need to work on the loving ourselves part to be able to better love others.
In the second passage we are examining today, Jesus teaches us how to pray. However, contained in the prayer he taught us, is a challenging verse.
The Lord’s Prayer
This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
“Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Did He seriously mean that? Do we harbor resentments for acts committed against us from long ago? Are there people we can’t or won’t forgive? Do we hold grudges? Do we truly want Him to forgive us the same way we are forgiving others?
We seem to have two choices to contemplate. Choice one is the unthinkable: Jesus made a mistake and misspoke. We could assume Jesus maybe meant to say something like this:
“Love others as you ought to love yourselves.”
Choice two is that we accept that He meant what He said, in which case, we need to start loving ourselves as the temple of the Holy Spirit that we are. Are we prepared to do this? Call on Jesus right now and ask Him to help you in this area.
On to the next possible misstatement Jesus might have made. Did He really want us to ask Him to only forgive us as well as we forgive each other? Maybe He meant for us to say this when praying the Lord’s Prayer:
“Forgive us our trespasses as we have been taught by Jesus to forgive those who trespass against us.”
How are we doing in the forgiving category anyways? Do we truly want Jesus to treat us as we treat others?
I want to encourage you to take both of these verses to prayer today. Seek His guidance and seek understanding. Ask God to make clear to you as you examine your personal response to these teachings. There is no doubt in my mind that we will all find much room for improvement.
Create a written action plan today:
- Write down one way in which you can honor God by loving yourself better. Then extending that love of yourself,write down the name of one other person who needs you to reach out to them in a loving way.
- Write down the name of someone you have previously been unable to forgive. Just writing their name down is a start. Then pray and ask God to give you one action step that could lead to healing this old wound.
I promise you this, if you just take the time to write out this simple action plan you will already feel the rush of God’s grace. There is no doubt Jesus meant what He said, and that He longs for us to follow His teachings. He did not misspeak! So now it is up to us to take the necessary corrective actions to do His will. Let’s start today!
Father we know you call us to be the person you want us to be. Help us to love ourselves as the temple of your Holy Spirit that we are. Help us to see the opportunities to bring love to others. Father you taught us to be forgiving people. Give us this day the strength to begin that forgiving process with those you know we have yet to forgive. We ask this in the loving name of Jesus our savior, amen.