Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The way we treat people is so important to God and the way that we shut up compassion in our hearts has eternal consequences. It does beg the question though of why some let compassion flow freely while others damn it up inside of themselves. To answer I give you two Greek words that speak a bit to the human condition:
  • hamartanĊ :: to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), to err, especially (morally) to sin. [see Romans 3:23 for context] 
  • parabasis :: violation, breaking, transgression. [see Romans 4:15 for context]
These two words represent two aspects of a phenomenon that the bible describes as sin. The first (hamartanĊ ) is one that is somewhat representative of our human nature. It speaks to the idea that people who have good intentions often miss the mark, make mistakes and err in judgment. The second word (parabasis) speaks of people with bad intentions who seek to do harm. And it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two.

Yet I believe that Jesus, in this passage, speaks to those who live lives of bad intentions.. people who have suppressed compassion for so long that they no longer understand what it means to be truly human. These are those who do not simply miss the mark. Jesus' words condemn them as he speaks of the way that their hard and selfish hearts have rejected pleas for food, clothing and compassion. To these he speaks words of punishment.

Help me Lord to remember how you suffer with the poor, the sick and imprisoned.

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