February 9, 2020, Matthew 6:1-8 – Post 2 – ISSL Reflection

Let’s go back to the question from Monday, “… what definition of piety do you come up with?”

Does your definition sound like one of these?

  • “the quality of being religious or reverent”
  • “a belief or point of view that is accepted with unthinking conventional reverence”
  • “reverence for God or devout fulfillment of religious obligations”
  • “devotion to God or to religious practices”
  • “a strong religious belief , or behaviour that is religious or morally correct”

What do you notice in these definitions that gives a positive view of “piety”? What in these could lead you to consider “piety” negatively?

Let’s look at this from another perspective.

Each week I’ve taken our Scripture from the New Revised Standard Version, but how do other translations* handle this?

NIV – Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them
ESV – Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them
CEB – Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention
CEV – When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off
NASB – take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them

… and before we leave translations ….

The Message – Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

“…. piety … religion … righteous deeds … righteousness … good deeds … trying to be good … “

What do you think? Are we only to be thinking about the correctness or incorrectness of religion and/or actions done in the “name” of religion? Or do we extend our thinking to include “good deeds”?

Or, do we make our first mistake by thinking Jesus takes a narrow view of piety or righteousness that limits us to thinking about what many think “religion” includes and leaves untouched a great deal of our living?

What part(s) of our living does Jesus have in mind?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

NIV – New International Version
ESV – English Standard Version
CEB – Common English Bible
CEV – Common English Version
NASB – New American Standard Bible

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