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Deliver us from Offense: More on Toldot...

Deliver us from Offense

Further thoughts on Parashat Toldot...

by John J. Parsons
www.hebrew4christians.com

Yeshua forewarned that just before the End of Days, "many shall be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Matt. 24:10). What dreadful people, you might imagine... what terrible depravity will mark that time!  And yet here we are today, with so many crusading for their own personal sense of victimhood, demanding special treatment, and threatening retaliation for being treated unfairly... It must be remembered, however, that whenever we find offence in others, we are reflecting the evil within ourselves (Matt. 7:1-5). What is this evil within you ask? How about being intolerant toward those who differ from us? How about be impatient – refusing to allow others to share their perspectives? Indeed, how many of us make the demand that others be "perfect" but turn a blind eye to our own imperfections?  And what about the sin of unforgiveness? What about our attitude of suspicion -- using the "evil eye" regarding others' motives – looking for something impure – rather than extending to them the benefit of the doubt? Do you carry resentment with your heart?  Do you hold on to a grudge over a real (or imagined) insult from the past? Do you harbor the desire to seek revenge? All of these evil attitudes are symptomatic of arrogant unforgiveness, and failing to remember that all that is good in your life you owe exclusively to the mercy of God alone...  When you feel offended, look within and examine the assumptions at work in your thinking.  Ask whether your indignation is based on the truth of God or something else. Are you demanding: "My will be done, in heaven as it is on earth?" Are you seeking your own vision, or surrendering to the truth of Reality? Are you (insanely) attempting to justify your hatred of others in the name of love?

It is written, "Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it" (Prov. 11:27). The one who seeks good is called shocher tov (שׁחֵר טוֹב), "a seeker of good." The shocher tov uses the "good eye" (ayin ha'tovah) to see worth and potential in others. The one who searches out evil, on the other hand, is called doresh ra'ah, "a searcher of evil." The doresh ra'ah has an evil eye (ayin ha'ra) that is stingy, critical and faultfinding. The proverb may therefore be stated this way: When you seek the good of others, you will find God's favor (ratzon), but when you search for evil in others, it becomes your own. As the Baal Shem Tov once said, "When we see faults in others, we must understand that they only reflect the evil within ourselves." Likewise King David said, וּתְפִלָּתִי עַל־חֵיקִי תָשׁוּב, "my prayer shall turn back upon my breast" (Psalm 35:13). Some prayers are conscious words spoken to God, whereas others are expressions of heart attitudes. Our proverb teaches that when we harbor indifference, ill will, or resentment toward others, we hurt ourselves; when we favor others and desire their blessing, on the other hand, we will find God's favor and blessing. Tov ayin hu yevorakh: "The one with the good eye will be blessed" (Prov. 22:9; Matt. 6:22).
 

שׁחֵר טוֹב יְבַקֵּשׁ רָצוֹן
וְדרֵשׁ רָעָה תְבוֹאֶנּוּ

sho·cher · tov · ye·va·kesh · ra·tzon
ve·do·resh · ra·ah · te·vo·ei·nu
 

"Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but evil comes to him who searches for it."
(Prov. 11:27)



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