Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Microscope or Telescope?

Do you recall the first time you looked through a microscope? You may have been looking at a piece of a plant or a microorganism, but the purpose of using the microscope was to make something that was tiny appear large. Looking through a microscope at something that I could not otherwise see always brings a sense of awe and wonderment to me.

Do you also remember the first time you peered at the heavens through a telescope? Suddenly, something that was enormous seemed to be close, personal and small, didn’t it?

Do you realize that every day you look at life through both a telescope and a microscope, depending on the circumstance? How do I know this? Let me show you from the Scriptures.

In Luke 6:41-42 (NLT) we hear Jesus teaching his disciples with these words, “And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.”

We can be very quick to use a microscope to magnify the faults and foibles of other people, while pulling out the telescope to cause our own faults to seem minimal in comparison. Ouch!!

Jesus spoke harshly to his disciples and called anyone who does this a ‘hypocrite’. While we all know what a hypocrite is, I find it intriguing to see that the Greek word used for hypocrite attributes even more meaning than our English word. Hupokrites means one who answers, an interpreter, an actor, stage player, a dissembler, pretender, hypocrite.

When we use a microscope to examine the life of another, while using a telescope to examine our own life, Jesus says that we are a pretender and an actor. Actors make their living being someone who they are not and when we use a different standard by which to judge our lives in comparison to someone else’s life, we are not really who we pretend to be. I would suggest that when we use a microscope to examine the life of another, we are attempting to make another person seem less…a lesser Christian, a lesser husband, a lesser wife, a lesser employee….less than. At the same time, by using a telescope to cause our own faults to seem smaller, we are attempting to magnify ourselves and our supposed importance. We must see reality as it truly is and not as we would like it to be.

In Micah 6:8 we are reminded that the Lord requires us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” If we take this seriously we will cease using a microscope to examine the lives of others and instead extend grace and love to them by viewing them through a telescope. This telescopic view of others is just and merciful and humble and pleases the socks off of our Lord. Viewing others through a telescope will also fulfill 1 Corinthians 13 which tells us that love covers the faults of another, rather than exposing and magnifying them.

We are never more like Jesus than when we love others and show them mercy. So, what will your instrument of choice be as you interact with others….a microscope or a telescope?

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