When The Devil Bites

When The Devil Bites

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

Tasmanian devils are named for their chilling shrieks that can be heard when the sun goes down on the island of Tasmania. The sound of the devils crying in the night reminded the early colonists of the mythical hellhounds. Despite their terrifying calls, these creatures aren’t as much of a danger to humans as they are to themselves. Not so long ago a vicious cancer began killing these animals and the cause of the disease was a mystery. As scientists began to study them, they discovered that the cancerous tumors were self-inflicted. It’s not uncommon for the Tasmanian devils to fight and bite one another over a carcass or the rights to a female. A devil’s ears will burn a bright red color when they become upset but by lashing out at one another they further their own extinction. The bites they inflict on one another are likely to develop into the mutating cancer that will grow until they succumb to the disease itself, or starvation. You won’t see the ugly side of these animals in Looney Tunes, but there are some valuable lessons to be learned from this. At times we can be guilty of destroying one another through gossip or complaining and, sadly, the church isn’t immune to this disease. It’s no wonder that God warns us about the dangers through His New Testament authors. 

Consider the following verses: 

“Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” James 5.9 

“But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5.15 

“We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.” 

I Corinthians 10.9-10 

While there’s much to be said about the damage that the tongue can inflict, it’s more productive to discuss solutions to the problem. Ironically, it’s a lack of productivity that often spawns gossip and complaints. As the old adage goes, 

“When there’s nothing to see and do, there’s much to hear and say.” 

Sadly, the darker side of closeness, history, and intimacy can be the breeding ground of gossip. The wounds inflicted and the trust that’s broken can be difficult, if not impossible, to repair. A song we teach to small children should be modeled by adults. 

O be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little ears what you hear

O be careful little tongue what you say

O be careful little tongue what you say

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little tongue what you say

Three Ways To Fight The Bite

  1. Avoid being a spreader. It will build your integrity and trustworthiness. 
  2. Make it a point to speak highly of the person being slandered. 
  3. Offer biblical solutions instead of contributing to the gossip. This assumes the person spreading the gossip is genuinely concerned about the person(s) they’re talking about. Have they confronted the subject of their gossip (Matt. 18.15-20)? If they’re unwilling to act but willing to talk— avoid them. 

On the last night of His life Jesus prayed the following, 

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17.20-21 

If unity was on the mind of the Savior even as He faced the cross, it must be important. 

Unity: without it there’s pain but with it there’s unlimited power. 

via Flickr (credit: Mike Prince)
12 Truths You Can Hang Your Hat On

12 Truths You Can Hang Your Hat On

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

In every chapter of Ecclesiastes you can expect at least two kinds of verses. At least one verse will make you wonder what Solomon is talking about and one verse will hit you in a profound way. As it turns out, humans haven’t changed that much over the years and our current experience of life share many similarities. Here are twelve amazing truths found in this book. 

1.4-8 

Some things never change. 

2.24-25 

Pleasing God will bring you more joy than chasing the things that bring momentary pleasure. 

3.9-11 

God has given us a desire to know the future. Because of this, we understand that while we don’t know the future we’re better off serving a God who does. 

4.9-12

It’s by design that we can accomplish more with help. God can do more with us when we are team players. 

5.19-20 

There’s joy to be found in hard work and that too is by design. Satisfaction is a natural feeling produced by the work of our hands. 

6.6

If you don’t find joy in life then life will drag on and feel slower. 

7.13-15 

When life is good, enjoy it. When life is hard— remember that it’s like that for everybody. Ups and downs are part of living. 

8.16-18 

This world is not just but don’t let that fool you into thinking that God isn’t just. We can’t understand how God’s mind operates in every circumstance. 

9.11-12 

Not everything happens for a reason! God might have a hand in any event, Satan may have something to do with it— or maybe it’s all a coincidence.

10.8-15 

Every job has it’s dangers but wisdom can make a job run smoother just as a sharp knife can make a task easier. 

11.7-8

It’s good to be alive! It’s nice to see the light from the sun. You should enjoy the life you live with eternity on your mind. 

12.11 

You can put your trust in any wisdom and teaching that comes from God. 

Each chapter of Ecclesiastes is filled with wisdom and life changing words. Our world needs to spend more time studying this inspired collection of truth. 

Dead Sea Scroll 109 (Ecclesiastes, commons image)
Lilah’s Life’s Lessons

Lilah’s Life’s Lessons

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Sometimes, preachers will tell other preachers, “Here’s an outline. Take it and make a good lesson out of it.” Last Sunday morning, I preached a sermon from 2 Corinthians 4 I entitled, “When Life Deals You A Blow!” After overviewing what the chapter is about, I told the story of an elderly bank robber and then had five points that when life deals you a blow…

I. FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSE (1-6)
II. RECOGNIZE YOUR POWER SOURCE (7)
III. PROPERLY VIEW YOUR PROBLEMS (8-12)
IV. MAINTAIN YOUR PRINCIPLES (13-15)
V. KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE (16-5:1)

It always warms my heart when our young people give me a copy of their notes. It tells me they are engaged, listening, and thinking about the sermon. I always treasure these and keep these. I definitely will be doing that with Lilah’s notes from the lesson, which her dad, Josh, gave me. She has his sense of humor. It lets me know she was really thinking.

In bullet points, she wrote…

  • When life deals you a blow, blow back.
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
  • Stuff that is important, take care of it and do it.
  • Be a good sport.
  • Don’t be a loser. Be kind.
  • Don’t rob banks.

The late Cleon Lyles once wrote a book entitled, Wish I’d Said That. I couldn’t have said better what Lilah said in her “retelling” of my lesson. While she took her thoughts a little different direction, think of the nuggets of wisdom from her good young mind.

First, don’t cave in and give up when you face trials. Fight back! We have God on our side (Rom. 8:31). We will gain the victory (1 John 5:4). Resist the devil (Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8). “Blow back!”

Second, make the best of your trials. Don’t feel sorry for yourself or dwell on the negative. Find the positives in your difficulties. Trials train us, and that’s God’s doing (Heb. 12:11). We can even rejoice even in our distressing trials (1 Pet. 1:6). “Make lemonade.”

Third, take care of important stuff. Don’t fret over it, worry about it, neglect it, or dismiss it. Deal with it (Mat. 6:33)! If you’re not a Christian, become one! If you’re not a faithful Christ, be one! “Do it!”

Fourth, be a good sport. When it comes to our trials, it’s tempting to be a bad sport. We complain about how unfair it is. We ask, “Why me?!” We allow our trials to cause us to sin. Attitude determines altitude! Paul defines a “good sport” in passages like Philippians 4:11-12.

Fifth, don’t be a loser. The world has its own idea about what makes one a loser. We must forget their point of view in favor of God’s. He says if you gain the whole world but lose your soul, you’re the biggest loser of all (Mat. 16:26)!

Sixth, don’t rob banks. That one is pretty self-explanatory!

Here’s what I know about Lilah. She was not only listening to the sermon, she was thinking about it. She was applying it. She seems like the person James calls us all to be in James one, humbly receiving the implanted, saving Word (21), proving herself an effectual doer of the Word (22,25), and one who wants to abide in it (25). Sweet Lilah preached to me, and she challenges me to be better when trials come my way! Thanks for your improved take on my lesson. Keep them coming!

Patience!

Patience!

Friday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

Steve Candela

How many of you have ever sat at a red light in traffic only to realize when that light turns green there’s still no place to go… and then before you get through the intersection the light turns red again. Frustration at its finest.

Who has ever been seated to eat somewhere and it takes over 15 minutes for a waiter or waitress just to come take your drink order? I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it!

I can’t be the only one who has ever lost my cool with my kids or other family members. Sometimes what seems to be for no apparent reason at all? Hopefully you’ve taken the time to at least realize you reacted poorly and made your apologies.

I’d like to share with you my struggle with being a patient man. How I always need to consciously work on it, what works for me, what doesn’t work for me, and maybe open your eyes to the reality of what true Christian patience looks like.

My wife, Rebecca, always tells me, “Don’t ever ask God for patience, or else He’ll give you something to be patient about.” I can see that. To a certain point, I believe it too. But let’s take a second look at it in James 1:2-8.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” So let’s look at this. I have faith. My faith can be tested.

This doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith, just that I’m being tested for how strong my faith is.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” – Here I see my struggle with patience as the wisdom aspect. Maybe I’m not feeling wise. Maybe I’m having trouble figuring out this patience thing you all speak of. Is it wrong of me to at least let God know, hey I’m struggling with this… No! Absolutely not. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Let me be clear, I’m not disagreeing with my wife. I would never do that honey… I’m simply saying that asking God for patience and asking God for grace and understanding while I figure out what I need to change in my life to be more patient, are two completely different things. Verse 6 says,

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”

So we have some ground rules here. James tells us, “you must ask in faith. You cannot doubt God. For if you have any doubt, any doubt at all you can expect to receive nothing.”

Maybe my best course of action does not stem from asking God for help. What I have done and learned to do lately is called connecting the dots. If I am unhappy, frustrated and struggling to find joy at home, I ask myself why? Where did that come from? There doesn’t seem to be anything that my family is doing wrong. Sure, dishes pile up in the sink,kids room is not picked up, laundry room is overflowing… Those things happen, they’ve happened before and it didn’t bother me that much in the past. Maybe all those little things just seem like big things now because something else is bothering me, but what? What’s changed? Connecting the dots for me almost always leads back to work. A bad run I’ve been on, problems with co-workers, added duties and responsibilities to an already stressful job. I have had to learn to be more aware of my stressors. I’ve had to do a hard reset on what I bring home vs what I leave at work. Most of all I’ve had to remember to lean on Jesus.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my Yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Learn to lean on Jesus. Learn to do it early. Learn to do it often. I urge you to join a private Bible study. Find an elder, find a deacon, or find a friend and ask them to study the Bible with you. Studying the word of God is the biggest stress reliever I have ever found. I am so grateful for those that have taken the time to study with me.

If you are not a Christian, you have a choice. Don’t wait. Learning to be a disciple takes time. But making the decision to desire discipleship takes no time at all. Be baptized into Christ Jesus and rest easy knowing your soul is in safe hands.

If you are a Christian, perhaps you’ve let your anxiety, stress or impatience get in the way of being a solid Christian, a rock star husband or wife, a nurturing mother or father, or a fierce friend. We are here to help you, guide you or pray for you. Do not be weary, whatever you may need.

The Old Paths

The Old Paths

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

In almost every major war preceding World War I, men met face-to-face on the battlefield. The weapons used by soldiers had not changed much in thousands of years, so engagement distances were limited to 100 or so meters at most. By World War I, the bolt-action rifle had been perfected, machine guns were everywhere, some artillery pieces had a range of 80 miles, people fought in the skies for the first time, and some soldiers even had portable machine guns.

Commanding officers didn’t care, though. Soldiers always charged into battle; that was a thing. This was how they had fought for thousands of years, so why change now? They threw soldiers’ lives away over and over again, each charge being erased by the enormous volume of bullets. Why hadn’t they changed tactics after the first couple of failed charges? 9.7 million soldiers died in World War I (https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/reperes112018.pdf). A hefty percentage of them would have survived if the commanding officers had just changed tactics.

Christianity is warfare (Eph 6.12; II Cor 10.3-6; II Tim 2.3ff). We fight our own nature, the influence of evil, and the involvement of the enemy (satan). Christianity is also a rescue operation – we’re trying to save people! Just as with any war, the enemy is always trying to stay one step ahead. Ours is the most advanced threat anyone could face! No stakes are higher, no enemy more powerful, and he’s primarily concerned with causing as much damage as possible. He knows he’s doomed (cf Matt 8.29), which makes him an enemy with nothing to lose. We KNOW he’s used evolving tactics over the millennia.

The message Jesus gave us is timeless and can never be changed. The way Jesus wants his church to operate is timeless. Doctrine cannot be changed. But this gospel is not confined by an era or aesthetic. The message is relevant across time, culture, and understanding. If we confine Christianity to a form that hasn’t been in common use for a long time, do we not demonstrate a lack of faith in his timeless message? Worse yet, it would mean our rescue operation is several steps behind the enemy’s offensive.

We have the most powerful entity as our ally, but this mission is ours. What God wants to accomplish will be accomplished. Since this mission is ours, we must execute it as effectively as possible! How? The message is timeless, so it works in any culture and time. Match it to our culture and time in every way that doesn’t compromise (I Cor 9.19-23), and let God’s power do the rest.

“Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting powers of darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6.12).

via National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Where Vanity Leads

Where Vanity Leads

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

When my father and I travel in the car together, we listen to one of three SiriusXM stations: 40s Junction, Bluegrass Junction, or Willie’s Roadhouse. Today, we tuned the radio dial to Willie’s Roadhouse as I made my way to a gastroenterology appointment. On the way home, Tom T. Hall’s tune, “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet),” played as we started back up the mountain towards Blairsville, Georgia. I have heard this song by “The Storyteller” before. “Faster Horses” never fails to remind me of King Solomon. 

Within Hall’s song, a poet asks a cowboy for words of inspiration. Instead, the cowboy tells the poet that the best things in life are “faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money.”1 The poet balks at the idea, but the cowboy calls him a liar. The poet desires to punch the cowboy, but the cowboy draws a weapon, and the poet backs off. Eventually, the poet drops his philosophical pursuits, settling on the “wisdom” imparted to him. He supposes the “wisdom” sage enough to share with his offspring. I would venture to guess that alcohol, at least, figured prominently in Hall’s life as he also wrote the songs “I Like Beer” and “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.” Even my favorite of Tom T. Hall’s discography, “I Love,” contained the lyrics “bourbon in a glass and grass.” (As an aside, there was a radio edit that substituted those lines with “old TV shows and snow.”)  

In Ecclesiastes 2.1-3,8, Solomon admits, “I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.’ And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’ I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives…Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines” (all ref. NASB1995 unless otherwise indicated).  

Yes, Solomon said it was futility (vanity—KJV and ESV). Solomon tried the cowboy’s life and found it wanting. It may well be that the late Tom T. Hall found out the same thing. On August 20, 2021, Tom T. Hall took his life. He was 85 years old.2 Though I do not wish to debate the wisdom of Chilon of Sparta, who in circa 600 BC was the first recorded speaker of the aphorism, “Do not speak ill of the dead,”3 I will add that many suicides stem from a sense of hopelessness. Depression is typically the common factor among those choosing to end their life. If this was Hall’s motivation, and only God knows, we note how the vanity of “faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money” can create a downward spiral. 

Vanity is an unhealthy type of narcissism. One is preoccupied with best satiating his desires, as Solomon well documented. In Ecclesiastes 6.7, Solomon says of his pursuits, “All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.” Thus, Solomon assures us that he found his pursuits futile despite trying everything he could. So why didn’t Solomon’s dissatisfaction cause him to lose hope or become depressed? Because he still had enough wisdom to draw the proper conclusion: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12.13-14). 

If we are to develop the mind of Christ (Philippians 2.3-8), our focus must be outward. Rather than following one’s vanity to inevitable destruction, one must look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2.4). Therefore, whether said initially by Benjamin Franklin, John Ruskin, or Henry Emerson Fosdick, we note the truth in the expression, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” Embiggen yourself by obeying the law of Christ (cf. Galatians 6.2,10). Don’t follow vanity where it leads.    

Sources Cited 

1  “Tom T. Hall – Faster Horses Lyrics.” AZLyrics.com, AZLyrics.com, www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tomthall/fasterhorses.html.  

2   Leimkuehler, Matthew, and Cole Villena. “Country Music’ Storyteller’ Tom T. Hall Died by Suicide, Medical Examiner Says.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 6 Jan. 2022, www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2022/01/06/tom-t-hall-died-suicide-medical-examiner-autopsy/9120690002/

3 “De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum.” The Free Dictionary, Farlex, encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/De+Mortuis+Nil+Nisi+Bonum

Courtesy: Max pixel
“I Can’t Come To Church Because Of Covid”

“I Can’t Come To Church Because Of Covid”

(Tuesday Supplement. Note: I am well aware that there are those who are immunocompromised and cannot attend. This is not in any way meant to discourage or dishearten those in this condition. God knows and understands.)

Neal Pollard

Covid has touched nearly every family I know, including my own. It would be foolish to say that it is harmless. It has claimed nearly 5 million lives as of today. So, I have heard from many good, thoughtful people, this statement: “I can’t come to church because of Covid.” Please accept that with deep, genuine love, there are a few questions that need to be asked alongside of this.

Are we being consistent? Are we still going to the grocery store, the restaurants, the beauty shop, the office, the classroom, the gym, and the doctor? Chances are at least as great that we will contract Covid in one of those places as at church. People are not more clean or careful in those places. 

Are we properly prioritizing?  Perhaps we see the stores, the job, the school, and the medical as essential and necessary. Jesus puts our spiritual health and that of His body above all else (Mat. 6:33; 16:26). How could we conclude that any of these others are more important than His kingdom?

Are we considering others? Perhaps we console ourselves by saying that we’re getting what we need by watching Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, or wherever services are live-streamed. But, worship and Bible class is not simply about our being fed. We must consider one another to stimulate unto love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24). That is said in connection with assembling together (Heb. 10:25), and how is this done by one who stays away from the assembly?

Are we weakening our spiritual strength? Is it getting easier to stay away or opt to just catch it on the phone, computer, or TV when we don’t feel like coming? Are we losing our desire to be with God’s people? Isolation has many effects, some more subtle than others.

Are we assessing our fears? Those who are waiting for Covid to go away will be waiting years or longer. This is a virus. Scientists doubt that it can be eradicated. It spreads too quickly. Perhaps it will be like Polio or smallpox, but how long will that be? Will we stay home for years? Meanwhile, where will be, spiritually, years from now if we have disconnected from our spiritual family? 

After 18 months, perhaps it is time to do some serious reevaluating? Instead of only allowing news outlets to be our guide, we need to balance that with careful study of God’s Word. Instead of considering just this life on earth, we should balance that by considering this life is for preparing for eternity. We need to be back together–all of us, now more than ever. 

What Makes A Fool Tick?

What Makes A Fool Tick?

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

image-e1601983688162

Dale Pollard

A qualified fool is someone who lacks wisdom and also tends to have an embarrassing lack of common sense. In the ancient past, being called a fool held a lot of weight and it wasn’t something that was taken lightly. There’s a healthy emphasis placed on the fool throughout the Psalms and Proverbs, and his time in the spotlight is far from flattering. He’s often in sharp contrast to the wise and intelligent person. What may cause some of these passages to sting in a personal kind of way is when they reflect our own actions or inclinations.

Psalm 14 begins stating, “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God.’” Today the atheistic minds that fill the rolls of teachers, scientists, and authors are held in high regard. To some they are seen as the “brains of society” and the pioneers of the future. Evolutionary doctrine may dominate the classrooms and laboratories, but God calls them foolish. They are not “progressive” or “admirable” because they’ve missed or rejected something crucial. The one that denies the existence of a God that they are surrounded by, alive because of, and will be judged by— is the fool. David goes on to state in the same Psalm how God had looked down on the earth to see if anyone had been seeking after Him. When God looks down on our lives what does He see? 

Maybe you would never audibly state, “I don’t believe in God!” But we can’t forget that our repetitive actions are those true statements that tell the world what we believe. 

8 Reminders For The Restless Mind

8 Reminders For The Restless Mind

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

dalejanelle2021

Dale Pollard

  1. Don’t carry burdens that aren’t yours (Proverbs 3.5-6)
  2. Remember the extraordinary times that God has carved out a path where there was no path before (Isaiah 43.16-19) 
  3. Don’t forget, God can see what you can’t see (Proverbs 16.9) 
  4. Even if you stumble, God won’t let you stay down (Psalm 37.23-24) 
  5. God’s vision is bigger and better than yours (Jeremiah 33.3) 
  6. God hasn’t forgotten about you (Proverbs 20.24) 
  7. Remember to be very specific when praying to God (2 Samuel 5.19) 
  8. Always be sure your will is His will (James 4.15) 

If you’re struggling with the anxieties that can come from making life’s difficult decisions, read these verses. Perhaps they will give you some insight that help you to answer that crucial question, 

“How should I be praying about this?” 

Give it to God and rest up! 

“When you lie down you will not be afraid, when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.” 

Proverbs 3.24 

Judge Not That You Be Not Judged

Judge Not That You Be Not Judged

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

image

Dale Pollard

Matthew 7:1-5 contains that well known verse, “Judge not that you be not judged.”

This has been a misquoted and misunderstood section of scripture because some have taken this to mean that Jesus is implying that not judging someone involves a complete acceptance of a sinful lifestyle. This obviously isn’t the case since later in this same chapter He tells us that we can judge others based on their fruits. How will we know if a “sheep” is really a “wolf” in disguise? 

We can sort the wool from the wolves by judging the actions of both. 

Some level of judgment then must be passed on our part, but this is not to be an action of belittlement. Jesus will masterfully use the illustration of the plank-eyed man attempting to remove a speck out of another’s eye. Notice how our Lord doesn’t reprimand the attempt to remove the speck, but that we can see the speck better when that metaphorical plank is removed from our own eye. 

Jesus is not teaching an acceptance of sin, nor is it a lack of love. Unconditional love is a requirement, but Jesus shows that it is possible to love the sinner, and hate the sin. A speck can keep us from the narrow gate just as easily as a plank can– and both should be removed. 

Here are three thoughts to consider on these verses

  1. Our own planks aren’t as obvious to us as they are to others. Before becoming agitated and aggravated with a brother or sister we should keep in mind that they may not know what is so obvious to others. 
  2. Our eyes must be clear if we are ever going to help others.
  3. Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t help, but that we are required to.