Whenever we have the opportunity to make human assessments, the assessments we make will always betray our doctrine of man. We can always glean from what one person has to say about another, their doctrine or philosophy concerning man in general.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2:3.
The comments made here in Matthew focus on the negative because there is something negative that is disturbing Herod and something negative brewing within him. He hears about Jesus being born and the magi looking to locate Him so that they could worship Him. Herod immediately begins to feel threatened; so much so that his behavior becomes pathological and results in the death of thousands of innocent children.
Well, this negative something is in all of us and we need to deal with it. We must come to terms with the fact that there are some negative qualities that are common to all human beings. We know this because we realize how difficult it is to honestly say what we will or will not do in any given situation. Peter, you recall, was one of the closest disciples to Jesus. He loved Jesus and Jesus loved him. But he lied, cursed, and betrayed Jesus to save his own skin. He walked and talked and dined with Jesus for three years. He had seen miracles performed and heard sermons preached and claimed he was willing to die, yet denied even being acquainted with Jesus.
Now, we have never seen Jesus, never walked with Him, or talked with Him in the same sense that Peter had. So we have to come to a consensus on human nature. Man was born in sin and shaped in iniquity. We possess the capacity to do all kinds of negative things. We see it in others and we see it in ourselves, do we not? Yet, through the power and might of Jesus Christ, we are enabled and empowered to overcome the negative and the stronghold of sin. Jesus bore our sins on His shoulders at Calvary, thus releasing us from their yoke. When we view life and live life consistent with the will of God, old negative thoughts and behaviors pass away. Behold! All things become new.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Water: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.
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