The Reading: Psalm 1:1-6
“The wicked are … like chaff” (v.4) RSV
The “wicked” are …? Who are they? It couldn’t mean you or me … could it? We might agree that Stalin and Hitler were wicked. Well, their actions were, but were they? What is meant by a wicked person?
The Bible seems to have got it right when it says: “Now the men ofSodomwere wicked, great sinners …” (Genesis 13:13). But did you realize that their sin was not primarily ‘abominable things’ but inhospitality? (Ezekiel 16:49-50) Yes, failing to be hospitable to strangers was a heinous crime. The heart of God is generous, open-armed and hospitable; He longs to invite us to His Banquet. But godless people are small-minded and inward looking.
I think we would be surprised at what makes Jesus angry. He could not stand the petty-mindedness of the Pharisees and their judgmental and censorious spirit.
Nor can Jesus stand unbelief and faithlessness. He became so exasperated with his disciples, who often showed such little faith and even less understanding.
Jesus tells a story of a wicked servant. The man had been forgiven a huge debt by his master, but he then goes out and fails to forgive a fellow servant who owed him a mere pittance (Matthew 18:23-35). Unforgiveness is unforgivable; it is wickedness. Such an attitude causes us to shrivel as people and to become “like chaff”. (v.4). Sadly such people will not want to loiter in church; and even more sadly, they will not have a leg to stand on at the Day of Judgement.
Dear Lord, take from me a small, mean and judgemental attitude. Give me your heart of love and generosity so that I may be hospitable. Amen.
1. What is the end of the righteous and the wicked?
Daniel 12:2-3 and John 5:28-29
2. What, for instance, made Jesus angry?