I’ve had sincere, well meaning people tell me: “Pastor, we need to respond and discipline people when they fall out of line. Jesus did. He used a whip. We should not be too relaxed.”
Well of course! We should do as Jesus did. But Jesus used a literal whip and a proverbial whip for the self-righteous and for those who used the temple as a means to make money. He was quite forceful with them.
But with sinners and those who were needy, he was merciful and kind. He never condemned sinners but was quick to forgive, love, and accept.
Yet at the same time, he was quite focused on who can be his disciples. He said that if they wanted to be his disciples, they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him. His “call” was also inclusive of proclaiming the kingdom. He said to one man as he called him to follow: “Leave the dead to buy their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Now about us using the whip. I’m not so sure if we are qualified to do so. You see, our interpretation of who is self-righteous and who is using the temple to make money can be skewed. Our own self interests and misconceptions coupled with our lack of understanding can get in the way of seeing others clearly. I think it’s best to leave the whip to God and continue to show mercy wherever we can.
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