Matthew's Book Leader Notes - Session 11
Matthew 7:1-14 Randy Harris uses a great word to tie these passages together – generosity. When we know and understand the depth of God’s generosity toward us, it will compel us to be generous towards others.
When we grasp how much God has forgiven us, we will extend grace to others rather than judge them. This does not mean that we give a free pass to everyone or that we have no standards of behavior. That doesn’t fit with the rest of Jesus’ teachings. Not judging people means that we do not lower our esteem of them because of their behavior. We realize that we are guilty of similar or worse sins and so we do not think less of them. Instead, we embrace them when they repent and we do whatever we can to help them move forward in their spiritual life.
When we understand that God wants to give us good things in life (vs. waiting for the chance to punish us), we will more easily call out to Him for help and rely on His provision in this life. This is not to be seen as a “blank check” that we can cash whenever we want something from God.
When we are living a life that is aware of God’s generosity to us in forgiveness and provision, we will be able to treat others with great generosity in return. We can take the risk to treat them as we would want to be treated. Even if they turn around and treat us badly, our gracious, generous heavenly Father will take care of us.
Note: Randy Harris’ interpretation of verse 6 is not in line with the majority of commentators. Most commentators agree that the “dogs and pigs” are references to Gentiles, but they suggest that Jesus is telling His Jewish audience to keep God’s Kingdom for Jews (see Matthew 10:5-6 for another instance). At this point, Jesus’ message was for the people of Israel. Later, He would make it clear to His followers that the Kingdom of God was to be taken to all people, even to the ends of the earth.
Since the exact meaning of this verse is not clear and it is not a critical theological point, we should not be too dogmatic about any one perspective or interpretation.