Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Harsh Words

But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:7-12 

* Over the past few weeks I have been in several places without wi-fi to be able to post these blogs. I  hope you will be patient with me in this time of much travel and isolation.

Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth and often it can be presented in less than kind ways. Our present day prophets can be so in-your-face that we can turn away and disregard them as crazy. We can excuse ourselves for listening when people are angry, even if the anger is justified. Yet, hard as it is, we are asked by God to daily self-examination and humility, to hearing the truth despite the difficulty we might have with it. None of us likes criticism, but we can learn and grow because of it.

John is preaching to the crowds when the religious leaders show up. He calls them out for who they truly are. If I was in the crowd then I would have wandered off in embarrassment and shame. We don't know what the religious leaders' reactions were. But John challenged them and challenged us to be open to the wondrous encounter with Christ, that moment when our shallow misguided egos are corrected and transformed by love.

Today I ask God to help me listen to the truth and get back daily on the right road. May we help one another keep on the path of God, trusting that as we turn, we will be met with love.

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