“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may also be clean.”- Matthew 23:25-26
I am sick of reading blogs and comments about the Starbucks cup, but I can’t seem to stop. It’s like the other most recent hot topics. The first couple things you read about it are entertaining, and then… then they all start to run together and it begins to feel like one big online debate that spins in circles.
But here I am, writing a blog about it yet again.
I always try to not be the person who posts what has already been said a million times (unless it’s the Gospel and in that case, I will post it until I have no more breath to breathe). Yet, I have some heavy thoughts floating around my head that have nothing to do with the so-called Christians that were offended by the Starbucks cup (which, by the way, I have read one post from an offended person and about a million posts from those who are offended that they are offended. Are we positive that the first group even exists?)
As I was thinking through the whole thing yesterday afternoon, the above verses from Matthew came to mind. I even commented on a status with something along these lines,
“Amen. It all kind of reminds me of a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees about cleaning the inside of the cup instead of worrying about the outside.”
Except the more I thought about it, the more sick and twisted the entire thing became. Me- a sinner- focusing on others’ sins? Now that sounds like a Pharisee if I have ever heard of one.
I began to get uncomfortable in my own skin as I started challenging my own thoughts on the matter.
The truth is this: we are not called to focus on anyone’s sins; we are called to focus on the Savior of all.
This is the cup that we have been given the privilege of fixating on- the one in which Jesus said,
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”- Matthew 26:39
The new covenant of blood spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11:25- that cup is the cup that changes everything.
The truth is this: we are all messed up. We can spend time bashing other supposed brothers and sisters who “got it wrong” yet again, or we can spend our time praising the God above all our twisted and distorted human junk.
I think sometimes, as Christ followers, we see others doing something in the name of Christ and it embarrasses us, and so we forget that we are called to love them even still.
Even when their humanity seeps out from under the rug- or in the case, overflows from their cup.
Beloved- we are called to love everyone. At all times. No matter what. Yes, we call sin what it is but can we open our eyes a little bit more to see that when we are mocking the sin of anyone we are forgetting the blood of Jesus that covered all our sins. And-
“Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?” (Jesus’s statement).- Matthew 20:22
We are not able.
Thanks be to God that in Jesus, we can spend time focusing on what is good, and lovely, and true, and right- not on some ridiculous, will be in the trash in twenty minutes, cup.
You see, the problem with saying that there is poverty, and orphans, and widows that we need to be looking toward instead is that this still misses the point.
You don’t have to be a Christ follower to love your neighbor, or feed the poor, or adopt a child.
Yet, the good news of the Gospel spurs us on to love selflessly just as He has loved us infinitely selflessly. So, when we keep our eyes on Him, the overflow of His cup within causes us to want to love those around us with unabandoned love. Just as He did.
“If You kept a record of sin, O Lord, who could stand…but with You, there is forgiveness.”- Psalm 130:3-4
Friends, this is the point. This is our focus. Today, may we not busy ourselves with bashing others’ silly mistakes or futile decisions, and instead, may we busy ourselves with kingdom matters.
Might we focus on the cup of salvation instead of the cup of caffeine. The inside instead of the outside.
And- let us not forget- fixating on the story itself, from whatever angle, is losing sight of the whole point.
Thanks be to God that in Jesus, we can love each other in the midst of all of our sin.
Whether our struggle is legalism or licentiousness, grace stands.
Love wins everytime.
Let’s drink THAT cup to overflow today and every day.