O God, Hold Court in My Heart
Excerpt from Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon;’ [Jesus] came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Reflection by Felix Carrion
They said of John the Baptist “he has a demon.” They said of Jesus, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” With these words, Jesus is quoting those who refuse to listen to the messenger’s message about the condition of their lives, exposing their banal criticisms and contradictions. His critics, in other words, prefer to deflect, label, and demonize the messenger. It is easier, but much more destructive for a person, to place the focus on another when his or her life is in need of work.
Friends, let’s accept it now: there are people who will always be critical of you, finding fault with what you do and say. We find them in our families, churches, places of work. The labels they fling will always fly. Forget trying to change this; instead, work on “thyself.” Pay loving and genuine attention to your life, to your every step. This is the path to your inner wisdom and vindication.
I am convinced that neither John nor Jesus gave any credence to the opinions of their critics. Whether praised or criticized, they remain true to their core. Nothing but their inner wisdom and truth held court in their hearts and heads. By living this way they were free from the fickleness of the human tongue rendering superficial and shallow judgments about their lives.
O God, hold court in my heart, help me only to hear your true judgments about my life, and free me from the distractions of what other people think or say about me. Then shall I be set free. Amen.
About the Author
Felix Carrion is Coordinator of The Stillspeaking Ministry, United Church of Christ.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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