Saturday, August 9, 2014

Revelation 13:10 -- On Our Final Grade

"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Revelation 13:10

I've been running across a lot of scriptures lately that have a similar theme to this one... what we do, we get back.  The way we treat others is the way we will be treated: restoration and judgement.  I think it might be finally starting to sink in.  When I was in high school I remember one of my teachers giving me a C on a paper, and when he did, he told me that if it was any of the other students, it would be an A paper, but he knew that I could do better.  A similar thing happened to me in college, and you know... I think both of those teachers were good teachers, and trying to inspire me, to let me know that they could see potential in me, but at the time I mostly just felt robbed of the grade I "deserved." ... If what I wrote was better than everyone else, then I should get an A, right?  So what if it wasn't my best effort?
We're all good at different things, and I think we get so used to competing with and comparing ourselves to others sometimes that we forget that God doesn't grade on a curve, or care what anyone else's grade is, or what anyone else has done at all.  Our judgement isn't going to involve what other people did that justified our actions, or how great we are compared to some other person.  God knows our strengths and weaknesses perfectly.  He gave them to us.  He knows whether we magnify our talents or whether we just do the minimum to squeak by.  It's our actions and our labor and our choices that determine what happens to us.  Warnings like this verse remind us that we need to think about who we are, that we have a personal responsibility to do the right thing all the time.  We can't blame missteps on passion or circumstance.  We can't solve ethical dilemmas by claiming that other people forced us into it. :)  We're here to love and help others, but we make our own choices, and no one else stands between us individually and God, besides Christ, who thankfully allows us to repent and change through his atonement.
God is the greatest teacher, the greatest parent, and his instruction and nurture is individualized so that each of us gets what we need.  Each of us has an opportunity to make choices and has strengths and weaknesses that help us to grow and become more than we currently are.  Today, let's remember to do the best that we can do, no matter whether that capability is greater or lesser than another's capability.  Let's stretch ourselves, and become better at our strengths and weaknesses.  Let's not just do the minimum to get by.  Let's be extraordinary.  Let's have the patience and the faith of saints, and avoid those traps that we are so prone to fall into, blaming other people or basing our behavior on comparisons.  Let's avoid evil and never justify it, and let's embrace good, and work hard to make the world better in any way we can.  In the end when we're judged by how we treated others, let's find kindness and love and generosity waiting for us.  Let's work out our lives through faith and prayer rather than comparison. :)

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