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 Jesus... Or What?
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‘Then Nathan said to David, You are the man!’ (2 Samuel 12:7).

When Nathan began his parable about the Little Ewe Lamb, David's good nature was apparent. All that we know of David informs us that he loved righteousness. He was just and compassionate. When he heard of the wrong done by the rich man to the poor man in Nathan's story, he was outraged. But then the prophet poured cold water all over his indignation, by telling him that he was the rich oppressor.

This incident reminds us that we are all curiously blind to our own shortcomings. We are offended more by the sins of others, than our own. We have two sets of names for evil. One set of names mitigates the wrong; excusing it. The other set of names sharply critical, and damning.

One set we reserve for describing our own mistakes. The other we reserve for the offences of our neighbors. What I call diplomacy in myself, I am apt to describe as hypocrisy in you. Thrift in me, is transformed into stinginess in you. "O wad some power the gift to gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us."

David was among the best of men. Yet it took the Spirit, through the prophet Nathan, to open his eyes to the greed and guilt that he carried within. For this very reason, we need Christian fellowship. Without the word of God, spoken to us by our brothers and sisters, we will surely have a mistaken view of our true selves.

After his conversion, Augustine said: You took me from behind my own back, where I had put myself, all the time that I professed not to see myself. And you set me there before my own face, in order that I might see how vile I was. . . . I saw myself, and I was horrified.

Those who learn the truth about themselves are already objects of God's saving purpose. They are ready to receive the great mercy.


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