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For some reason Psalm 103 struck a chord, but not in a good way. It seemed to focus on “sin,” in the manner of so many “busybodies” who masquerade as “good Christians.” (Illustrated at right.) See for example 2d Thessalonians 3:11 … Bible Hub, and the citations therein. And see also – from the Palm Sunday readings – Psalm 103, and especially Psalm 103:3 and Psalm 103:10.
All of which led to this question: What does God want us to actually do with our lives?
Should we focus on trying not to do anything wrong? Or should we focus more on actually doing something with our lives? Put another way: Should we focus on developing the talents and gifts that God gave us? Or – as some Christians seem to imply – “We have to focus on staying ‘sinless,’ and thus on staying Simon Pure?” (A term which can mean either “genuinely and thoroughly pure,” or “superficially or hypocritically virtuous.” The problem? Too many so-called “Conservative Christians” seem to fit the latter meaning…)
My theory is that God would prefer that we actually do something positive with our lives, and not worry so much about not making mistakes. See for example On sin and cybernetics, which noted “You can’t hit the target without ‘negative feedback,’” shown at left, and also that:
Maybe the concepts of sin, repentance and confession are simply tools to help us get closer to the target next time out, even if we never become “perfect.”
And which also leads to the Biblical concept about Minding Your Own Business. There was a variation on that theme by Hank Williams. (“Hank the Elder.”) It has the standard chorus, “If you mind your business then you won’t be minding mine.” And it closes by saying, “if you mind your own business you’ll stay busy all the time.” You’ll be so busy, in fact, that you won’t have time to be telling other people how to live their lives. (I.e., being a “busybody.”)
Here the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount … gives a new motive to the work of self-scrutiny and self-reformation… When we have wrestled with and overcome our own besetting sins, then, and not till then, shall we be able, with the insight and tact which the work demands, to help others to overcome theirs.
See also On “holier than thou,” for more on the Parable of the Mote and the Beam. (In which Jesus warns His followers on “the dangers of judging others, stating that they too would be judged by the same standard.”) That post also presented an easy test: “Being aware that you may be self-righteous – or have a ‘holier than thou’ attitude – is a strong indication that you probably don’t have either problem.”
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And speaking of Palm Sunday, it’s that time of year again.
We are now in the midst of Holy Week. On that note, see the following posts: From 2015, On Holy Week – and hot buns; from 2016, On Holy Week – 2016; and from 2017, Psalm 22 and the “Passion of Jesus.” The latter post included the image below, with the note about Good Friday, to wit: “Here’s a spoiler alert:
There is a happy ending, and we get to find out all about it next Sunday…”
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The upper image is courtesy of Hank Williams – Wikipedia: “Hank Williams in concert in 1951.”