"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Matthew 10:26-31 -- Do Not Fear

So. In our last post, Jesus finished telling his disciples about all these frightening things: being hated for his sake, floggings, persecution, fleeing from town to town and the worst of all, being betrayed by family members! Yikes! Then we read in verse 26 he continues with

"So do not be afraid of them."

Huh?!

*ahem* Ya know, persecutions and floggings and being hated and running from village to village and your own family members turning against you doesn't exactly help the ol' peace of mind! How exactly do we not fear when we are facing all these horrible things?

Notice the latter part of this verse:

"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."

Does this bring to mind all the cheating scandals which make the news almost monthly? I'm sure SC Governor Mark Sanford thought he could keep his traveling to Argentina a secret by telling some crazy lie about going hiking on the Appalachian Trail. On Father's Day weekend. Without his boys.

And John Edwards. I heard his wife say she found out about his mistress from answering his cell phone. Silly mistress had to go and say, "Hey, Baby" and just like that the wife found out and a former vice presidential candidate was outed.

And what of Tiger Woods and Eliot Spitzer and numerous others?

Yet what about me? And you? What maybe are we hiding that we feel no one will ever -- we hope and pray - discover? Perhaps Jesus didn't have this in mind at all, but it's what came to my mind. I actually find this verse a bit troubling, yet I shouldn't if I have confessed my sins and am harboring no secret sins. I know God is faithful to forgive us if we repent.


Continuing on in this passage. Notice

27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Perhaps Jesus wanted his message - which he taught to his disciples privately - to be shared with everyone? I got this impression. Proclaiming from the roofs kind of conjures up this image in my head! :)



28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The Bible often tells us not to fear storms, people, circumstances and so forth. Fear torments (can I get an Amen?) and perfect love casts out fear according to I John 4:18 It seems quite often people are more fearful of society and peers and perhaps religious leaders than they fear God. Fear of God is good. We should respect the Almighty One and be more concerned with how HE sees us than how Pastor Joe or Sheikh Hassan or Rabbi Benjamin view us. This prompts me to ask, how much should we fear God? Any thoughts on that? Is He like an angry ruler looking for us to mess up and prepared to cast us into hell at the slightest infraction? Is He like a sweet old grandpa ready to wink at sin? Closer to one than the other, somewhere in the middle or something else entirely?

Back to our not fearing others and circumstances, Jesus goes on to give an example of small birds.


29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.

Even cheap sparrows don't fall without God knowing it! As a matter of fact,

30
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

And I've read some that say that's not like "Susanne has 48,966 hairs on her head," but rather "Oh, I see hair # 1,257 just hit the floor." (OK, so I personalized it just a bit.) Every hair is numbered?!

Therefore!

31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

sanil said...

27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Why do you think Jesus says it in the dark? I have no answer, just questions. :)

Susanne said...

Maybe Amber will come to our rescue! :-D Thanks for leaving a comment though. :)

Sarira said...

Hey Susanne,

I read this yesterday actually and I really liked the post:0 I didn't comment, though because I was waiting for those who are familiar with the Bible to respond, but I guess, it won't hurt if I give the Islamic way of thinking, while we wait ;)

The verse,"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known", reminds me of a lot of verses we have, as well.

But it also reminds me (paradoxically) also of one of God's names that we have and that is He is the "Concealor", the One who hides our sins for us and covers our weaknesses. It is for this reason that we do not confess to an Imam or priest or anybody- that and because we believe that there should be no intermediary between us and God. I should confess to God, personally, and let Him know that I realize I have wronged myself and not respected Him as much as He deserves!

Here are some hadiths on this topic:

It was reported that Ibn ‘Umar (radiya Allahoo anhoo) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The believer will be brought close to his Lord until He conceals him and makes him confess his sin. Allaah will say, ‘Do you remember such and such a sin?’ The man will say, ‘Yes, I admit it.’ The Lord will say, ‘I concealed it for you in the world and I forgive you for it today....." (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4408; Muslim, 2768).

However, the condition is this:

Abu Hurayrah (May God be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “All of my ummah (nation) will be forgiven except those who sin openly. It is a part of sinning openly when a man does something at night, then the following morning when Allaah has concealed his sin, he says, ‘O So and so, I did such and such last night,’ when all night his Lord has concealed him and the next morning he uncovers what Allaah had concealed.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5721; Muslim, 2990).


In fact, we believe that if we conceal our friends'/brothers'/etc's sins, (as in we don't go around gossiping, but realize that we also fall into sin), then God will conceal our sins on the Day of Judgment!

"If a person conceals the weakness of another in this world, Allah will conceal their weakness in the hereafter" [Al Nawawi, Riyad al Salihin p 135, Hadith no 245; al Ghazali, Kitab Adab p 344]

But certainly, though who defy His Commands will be exposed and 'shamed' in this life- like all the examples you have provided.

(continued)

Sarira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarira said...

dang, I pressed enter and wasn't done ;) Sorry, had to delete my comment.

Anyways, I love what you said about not fearing what Sheikh Hassan has to say! I so agree! It reminds me of this verse in the Qur'an:

"They seek to hide themselves from the people, but they do not hide themselves from Allah for He is with them when they hide the saying that does not please Him. Allah encompasses what they do." (4:108)

AS for how to look at God :D

In Islam, we believe this:

On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said:

I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

(1) Another possible rendering of the Arabic is: "I am as My servant expects Me to be". The meaning is that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty.

Also, when I read your question, I thought of this:

On the authority of son of Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both), from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), among the sayings he related from his Lord (glorified and exalted be He) is that He said:

Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones. Then He explained it [by saying that] he who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed.

^ To me, that goes to show me that
Allah is the Greatest, Most Compassionate, and He created us to be merciful towards us :D I mean to write down a good deed as being worth up to 700! He didn't create us to torture us- but rather because He wants us to enter heaven :)

Well, those are my few cents :) I hope this makes sense and is not too wordy/difficult to read with all the hadiths!

Amber said...

"There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known."

I guess on one level it could just be a commentary of the fact that secrets never really *stay* secret. You know, 'two can keep a secret if one of them is dead'? Some how, some way, no matter how good you think you are, someone is going to find out.

On the other hand, perhaps a commentary on the fact that even if you do get away with something, God knows, and when you're judged, everything will be brought to light.

'27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.'

It's included in the passage on fearless witnessing, which I find interesting. I feel it's a part of the encouragement to preach the Gospel, 'loud and proud', knowing that they would be martyred, but bringing others to the truth because that was what needed to be done. Christ's ministry was short, and *fairly* quiet. After His death and resurrection, after Pentacost, the Apostles and the disciples preached openly.

'This prompts me to ask, how much should we fear God?'

Mmmm. I tend to look at the instruction to 'fear God' less in the modern usage of the word fear, which connotes fright and terror and helplessness on our part, and more 'fear' in the sense of reverential awe.

Susanne said...

Sarira, I'm glad you decided to comment on this post. Thank you for taking time to do this. I don't know if I knew of God as the "concealer" in Islam and it being part of your reason for not confessing to an imam or priest. That's pretty interesting.

"In fact, we believe that if we conceal our friends'/brothers'/etc's sins, (as in we don't go around gossiping, but realize that we also fall into sin), then God will conceal our sins on the Day of Judgment!"

Hmmm, I think I like this. I wonder, however, how much it is practiced. I've heard/read that some Arab communities are notorious for gossiping...and shaming individuals and families within the community. Almost as if they have no redemptive value for shaming themselves/their families. :-/ I know it's not exclusive to Arabs, but the situation of which I'm thinking was within such a family in the Middle East. But as we all know people often do opposite of what their religions dictate.

Glad we could agree and you could relate to what I said about fearing Sheikh Hassan (and all the people) more than God! :)

I enjoyed your comment including the hadiths you provided to show us how you view God as merciful and compassionate! Thank you so much for your replies!

Susanne said...

Amber,

"On the other hand, perhaps a commentary on the fact that even if you do get away with something, God knows, and when you're judged, everything will be brought to light."

Yes, this is how I feel as well. But good point about keeping secrets...hmmmm.

I like what you said about fearless witnessing!

"more 'fear' in the sense of reverential awe."

That's how I tend to look at it as well.

Thanks much for your reply! All of you, I enjoyed what you had to say. :)