The Lord says, “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household! Fear them not therefore, for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” The Lord himself was accused of being a drunkard and a keeper of bad company—and perhaps would in the present day be so regarded by not a few calling themselves by his name, and teaching temperance and virtue. He lived upon a higher spiritual platform than they understand, acted from a height of the virtues they would inculcate, loftier than their eyes can scale. The Lord bore with their evil tongues, and was neither dismayed nor troubled; but from this experience of his own, comforts those who, being his messengers, must fare as he. When men count themselves Christians on any other ground than that they are slaves of Jesus Christ, the children of God, and free from themselves, so long will they use the servants of the Master despitefully. Few who have endeavored to do their duty, have not been annoyed, disappointed, enraged perhaps, by the antagonism, misunderstanding, and false representationto which they have been subjected, issuing mainly from those who have benefited by their efforts to be neighbors to all. “Do not hesitate,” says the Lord, “to speak the truth that is in you; never mind what they call you; proclaim from the housetop; fear nobody.” He spoke the words to the men to whom he looked first to spread the news of the kingdom of heaven; but they apply to all who obey him.
by Stephen Carney
“Fear them not therefore, for there is nothing covered that sell not be revealed, and hid, that shall not be known.” Daunting words from Jesus--and exegesis by MacDonald--which make it clear that what we may believe to be the truth about one another may in fact be illusion. Certainly, what the Pharisees believed about Jesus was false, as they attributed his works to Beelzebub. What they claimed about their own selves was not the truth, and what we believe to be the truth about ourselves, no matter how horrible or wonderful we believe ourselves to be, is certainly not the Truth that will set us free.
There are several reasons why we do not see others, or ourselves, in the truest light. First, our perceptions are flawed; we judge others based on our experiences, and our tendency is to project onto them characteristics that they may not possess. For instance, a person might say, “I know that that man over there is selfish.” How do they judge this? Why, by some act that they have interpreted to be selfish. But do we know that this person has become selfish? Anyone may act selfish at some point, but have they earned the title of Selfish? I have had a man once ask me for something I possessed that had been given to me as a gift. He did not know that it had been a gift, and I simply replied that it was not mine to give. Now that might appear selfish to someone observing the exchange; it might seem as if I was not obeying the words of our Lord when he said, “If a man ask for your cloak, give him your coat also.” But the emphasis is on the word your. If it isn’t yours, then you cannot give what has been entrusted by others. But let’s go deeper. Let us say that a person had committed some sin or wrong, but has repented of it and tried to set things in their right course, as much as it lay in their power to do so, yet others knew nothing of these actions and still judged this person based upon the committed sin or wrong. Is not their judgement misguided? If they wish to see the person attacked for his sin, is this not telling us more about themselves? We cannot pretend to know another’s heart.
Secondly, we most certainly do not know our own hearts well enough. David cried out, “Lord search me and try me and see if there is any hurtful way in me.” We cannot always predict our own behavior or reactions to certain situations, and if we cannot know ourselves well enough to avoid sin and heartache, how then can we pretend to see others so clearly? How many of us have said or done things we never believed we would? Or found ourselves in situations we never dreamed of being in? It is so much easier to point the finger at someone else and keep the focus off of our own foibles.
Finally, only God knows the heart. “Men judge by appearances, but God searches the heart." Only he can reveal the truth on that day. But we are not finished yet, and no one should be judged simply by their failures. What we will be, we are now becoming; we must not judge the plant till it is full grown, and remember that only the Father knows the truth which shall be revealed in the final unmasking.