Sunday, October 4, 2009

Matthew 7: Part 1

I dont usually talk here about bible study that Im currently doing but my pastor has recently been doing a series of sermons based on Jesus' 'Sermon on the Mount', and this morning he talked so well I got really into it. The thing is, its so full of topics and questions that theres no way I could do a blog on the entire chapter in one night. So I thought I'd just look at chapter 7 bit by bit

Verse 1-5
This funnily enough is scripture I quote a lot to people who annoy me. I dont use the exact same language mindyou, but I say it in away that I know they'll understand. Its such a basic piece of advice thats so handy and affects so many people. V2 and V5 stick out for me and it simply talks of humilty, self evaluation, and that selfish need for humans to put each other down in order to feel important and righteous.

V2 "For others will treat you as you treat them, whatever measure you use in judging others, will be used to measure how you are judged."

Boy that scares me when I read that. I know that if time today was like that of before Jesus' time, I know I could be stoned multiple times over for that piece of sin. The good thing I feel about this is that with my study especially, it has forced me to change attitudes and beliefs that I held as a result of my painful upbringing. For a long while I felt I had a right to be able to stand in a crowded room, and judge the man who had hurt me for 10 years in my own personal way. Eye for an eye you know? But when I started my first year of occupational therapy in '07 the biggest thing I had to work on in my placements was acknowledging someones negative actions and attitudes and beliefs as irrelevant in building rapport with a client. For example, I once had a patient who had had a hip replacement at the young age of 36. Lovely guy, easy to talk to. But the nurses soon discovered that he was a marijuana dealer who enjoyed quite a bit of it himself. Me personally I think smoking or doing illegal drugs of any kind is stupidity in the highest form. Everyone who works in education or health knows that smoking the the leading preventable cause of death in the world. At the time, I was also having trouble after discovering my boyfriend at the time had not been honest to me about his own smoking. I absolutely hated it. But in considering this, this patient of mine really made me sit down and think for a bit. I thought, I dont know this mans life, I dont know how he got into it. And quite frankly its not my job as an occupational therapist to even inquire about his smoking (maybe his GP) and most importantly, it would be completely unprofessional of me to make his private use of his leisure time a factor in our therapy sessions. I had no right to judge him. Turns out the next day, once the nurses found out he was a drug dealer he got treated like shit. The nurses ranted about his "disgusting habit and occupation " in the staff room and I was aware that he was now being given third rate care by the orderlies in showering and toileting him. This actually upset me and because of their behaviour I actually built an even better working relationship with this guy than before.
I dont know what happened to that guy. But I know he left the ward knowing he could trust an 18year old female OT student to give him the care anyone else deserved. It doesnt mean I now think smoking is awesome. I still hate it. But Ive been teaching myself to hate the habit not the person. At the end of the day, even though Im not a medical student, I think of that oath they take which was first written by that ancient greek physician guy Hippocrates (I think it was him) - "Above all else do no harm."
Whether it be a straight laced honest working lawyer or a serial rapist who was sadistically abused as a kid, it is my duty to care not judge.
I do believe in the system of juries and courts but at the end of the day the only person who has the right to judge is God.
I forget this so often.

V5 "You hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see good enough to deal with the speck in your neighbors eye."

I hear God saying this to me so often. Mindyou, usually he says in in a more gentle manner as if hes nudging me in the back saying "Oi, Melody thats not on.." And I've learnt that if I ignore that first loving piece of constructive criticism by God, it will eventually turn into painful but humbling discipline that I know I deserved.
As Paster Paul at my church was saying, in order for this to be effectively occuring, we need to be consistently self evaluating ourselves. And honestly too. Cos if we give ourselves a sappy evaluation it just shows that we dont want to acknowledge that our attitude is wrong and that we're too lazy to fix it. OTs, psychologists and counsellors all know that the first step to positive change in behaviour is self acknowledgement of of how we stuffed up and asking for help. And this piece of group therapy logic comes straight from the awesomest counsellor ever - Jesus, in Matt 5:3-12. "Blessed are the meek, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are those who are poor in spirit.." WHY are they blessed? Cos they know it and their being honest that they're hurting! And they want it to change by asking God for help. And that process of honesty is the pulling the log out of their eye. Therefore they are now blessed cos their eye doesnt hurt from all the wood particles. lol

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