Didache 3: A Matter of the Heart

Continuing the Way of Life, the Teachings take the last chapter and go a little more detailed. These explain that the evil deeds result in matters of the heart.

My child, flee evil of all kinds, and everything like it. Don’t be prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Don’t be jealous or quarrelsome or hot-tempered, for all these things lead to murder. My child, don’t be lustful, for lust leads to illicit sex. Don’t be a filthy talker or allow your eyes a free reign, for these lead to adultery. My child, don’t observe omens, since it leads to idolatry. Don’t be an enchanter, or an astrologer, or a purifier, or be willing to see or hear about these things, for these all lead to idolatry. My child, don’t be a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Don’t love money or seek glory, for these things lead to thievery. My child, don’t grumble, since it leads to blasphemy, and don’t be self-willed or evil-minded, for all these things lead to blasphemy. On the contrary, be gentle, since the gentle will inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good, and with trembling, treasure the words you have received. Don’t exalt yourself or open your heart to overconfidence. Don’t be on intimate terms with mighty people, but with just and lowly ones. Accept whatever happens to you as a blessing, knowing that nothing comes to pass apart from God.
Right out the gate the author discusses the death blow to the mental and emotional state of others when we give in to anger. Then the author speaks of the physical death. In the time this was written there were few ideas about mental control measures so they understood that these emotional responses could lead to ungodly, negative actions. Technology and mass media have made it easier for children and adults to be subjected to violence and sexual situations which makes individuals believe it is ok to view. This corrupts the mind into believing these are the new norms for society. Illicit sexual desires (anything besides husband and wife consensual sex), and the taking of another’s life are not acceptable behaviors. We are not animals and our behaviorisms can be controlled. All we have to do is not give in to them. Sex is reserved for marriage (man to woman nothing else),killing is only acceptable during war (and even then it is still painful to the mind). Matters that ruin the minds also ruin the heart. Be heart healthy and do not give in to temptation.
The next part about witchcraft, occultisms, and divination are the forms of idolatry that were prevalent in that time. We can include: celebrity worship, alcohol/drug dependency, anything that deals with seeking future events that gives glances that do not fall in line with Godly Teachings. There are things that we are just not supposed to do because they may be tricks of the Adversary.
The love of materialism, having selfish desires, and bearing false witness are worldly things that lead away from God. They are the thieves that steal our soul from the eternal glory and light of God. Anything that goes against God’s teachings is considered blasphemy. Claiming you are something you are not, belittling someone who has done nothing against you or others (bigotry), gossip, and other similar actions are things that lead away from God and destroy another’s heart as well as your own.
This section is not without a hope of relief and salvation. The basic message in being right with God is being a humble servant towards others without thought of yourself. I have mentioned numerous times our lot in life as caretakers and this part is no different. We should accept the situation we find ourselves in and not wanting more or better for that is the situation in which God has placed us. When God is moving in our lives we should not question it, just move because God places us where we are needed as caretakers. Those that try to control their own destiny will eventually fall and fail. If not them personally in this life, then their future generations who seem to reap the benefits will eventually have to deal with the consequences. The eternal soul is what matters, not human fame and fortune.
Accept the hand that God dealt and if mankind gives you a rotten egg, take it to God so that you will understand how to deal with it. Stay from the trappings of man for they are not of God but the Adversary who does everything to go against God’s Plan.
Brothers and Sisters, walk through the days without a chip on your shoulder, God will knock it off. Rather, accept the way that you are and God will provide.
I pray that you receive God’s Love and Blessings as you walk humbly with Christ letting Him lift you and take care of you as you do His Will on earth.

Correction over Judgement

Correction Not JudgementCorrection of a fellow Christian is something Jesus definitely tells us to do. But He warns us to be careful not to judge, especially openly, but when correcting make sure you are not doing the same nor have anything that needs correction yourself. If you are in the practice of judging someone while knowingly having something against you, your judgement may be worse. There is a difference between judging and correcting. Judging is something we should not do but we are told to correct even though we have conditions given by Jesus in order to correct someone. Jesus tells us this. It is recorded in Matthew while Jesus was speaking to a large crowd.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
We all have something that we have done wrong that either we continue to do or has been something in the past that still has not been forgiven. In order to be forgiven we must be able to forgive others for wronging us. Jesus takes it a step further when discussing personal sinful attacks and the consequence of disobedience.
“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin against you, go and show him his fault — but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to hear them, tell the congregation; and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax-collector. Yes! I tell you people that whatever you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. Matthew 18:15-18
Paul, when traveling to the different towns where both Jew and Gentile lived, took the issues of the city and brought the teachings of Jesus. For the Jews this was not just a reminder of the Torah but an expansion to better understand what it means now that the Messiah has come.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:1-8
Paul takes the Word given by Jesus and makes it understandable to all. Because of His background in the Synagogue, Paul new what the Law and Prophets said and with Jesus he now truly understood what it meant for the world.
In the passage above, Paul warns against falling into the trap of being tempted to sin while correcting someone of the same. He also warns against being fake, or pretending to be someone else and turning that into a common lifestyle. We do not need to pretend to be someone else nor compare ourselves to others.
If a person sows ungodly things then the individual will suffer the consequences. If a person sows the Word through thought, speech, and deed, then that person will see rewards in heaven.
Be of the Good Spirit and do not let someone else’s ungodliness turn you away. Do not judge but with compassion and humility, correct the sinner. That is one of the many ways God desires of us to live a Christ-like life. Have faith and do not waiver though it is easy in this day and age to be tempted.
May God’s Grace and Mercy be with you.
Love and Blessings to you all.