God’s Listening Ear
Reading: Luke 18:9–14
Class: making a listening ear: http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2008/09/wearemedia-why.html
Blanks: pray, mercy, justified, humble
Jesus told a story like this:
(2) There were two men:
One is a very religious person and the other is a cheater.
The religious person loved to study the bible.
(1) But then he was very judgmental about other people.
He was like:
“Why can’t they live according to the bible?”
Can’t they understand this is important?”
He argued about things with people.
But then since he was very competitive, he loved to win the arguments.
Then there was this cheater.
He was skilful, to say the least.
People knew that he was cutting corners.
He was dishonest.
So, some people looked down on him very much.
(1) Then these two came to a church to pray.
The religious person prayed out loud.
He was like:
“God, do you see these bad people?
Huuh! Look at this cheater.
Hhuu! Thank you! Thank you that I am not like these people.
I give you a tenth of all my income.
I fast twice a week!”
As he was praying like this, God was very uncomfortable.
God was like:
“Would you please stop judging people?
You don’t need to be so judgmental.
Otherwise, I may need to judge you, too.
So, don’t condemn them saying they are sinners.
And don’t try to be right all the time.
Instead, try to love them.
Be kind to them.
Try to be reconciled with them.
Try to live peacefully with them.
Then they will experience me and have eternal life.
Welcome them as I welcome you.
Welcome them and forgive them as I forgive you and make you useful in my kingdom.”
(2) Then the cheater prayed.
He could not even look up.
Then he was like:
“God, have mercy on me, a cheater.”
He knew that God is holy.
He could sense God’s holiness.
So, he prayed saying:
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Then you know what?
God answered his prayer.
God was merciful to him and forgave him.
God welcomed him and poured out God’s love to him.
God was so glad that he came here.
(1) Telling this kind of story, Jesus is saying:
“See God is ready to forgive him.
See God is ready to welcome.
So, when you welcome these people, God loves it.
When you welcome them, God will say: thank you.
When you welcome these people, God can heal these people.
“So, as much as God welcomes you, welcome these people.
As much as God bless you, bless other people.
As much as God bless your nation, bless other nations.
Be humble and patient toward them.
Then more people can experience God’s mercy.”
(3) Now looking at this story, I have a question.
When God welcomes people, how does God welcome them?
(3) For example, when God welcomes the “cheater,” what did God do for him?
God didn’t look down on him or judge him.
God listened to him.
This is how God welcomes him.
God listens to him and responds to him.
Then this man can learn to have a good relationship with God.
Then this kind of things happens.
Sometimes, some people may come to you to ask some questions to solve their problems.
Then you may feel:
“Oh! I don’t know how to answer these questions.
I am not ready to help them.”
(2) Then you can invite God to listen to them as well.
Then God will start to work.
God may give you some questions to ask them.
Then as they talk, they may explore their ideas, plans, thoughts, hopes and desires.
They may find what they truly want.
They may realize what they can do next.
They may realize what God has been saying to them all along.
Another situation may be like this:
Some people may come to you and ask about God.
Then, you can ask them back saying:
“What do you think about God?
How do you think about God?”
Then as they answer, they may really think about God.
In the meantime, you can silently pray for them.
Then something beautiful may happen.
Then they may find the right path to God.
They may experience the good God, too.
God loves to listen to people and solve their problem.
So, as you listen to people, invite God to come and listen with you.
Then God may guide them to find the right path to God.
Jesus, we offer all to you.
We surrender all to you.
We give our life to you because in you we find peace.
Thank you for listening to us.
Thank you for forgiving us and freeing us.
May we also forgive people in your name.
May we welcome everyone in your name.
We pray this in Jesus name.