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GOLDFISH…are incredibly colorful and most are simply stunning. There is probably no one that does not love watching them. They are mesmerizing! Whole Foods and Sewell Lexus have two great tanks. My eldest dated a guy in college who had numerous aquariums filled with some rare specimens, even salt water ones.

The Inspiring Body of Christ Church (IBOC) in Dallas has an enormous aquarium at the entry to their sanctuary. And how could you beat the Dallas Aquarium or SeaWorld for viewing?

Goldfish are primarily a freshwater fish and was one of the earlier fish to be domesticated in China more than a 1,000 years ago. It is one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish. Research revealed thousands of varying species. Just the Killifish alone comes in some 1270 different species. By definition they are small, usually yellow or orange fish of the carp or minnow family, native to China, bred in many varieties, often kept in fishbowls, tanks and ponds. The original color was ‘golden’ but through creative breeding many color variations have been produced.

While waiting for my car to be serviced recently, I spent some time just gazing at the fish darting and gliding in their aquarium habitat. The slightest movement of their fins or tail produced sharp turns, dives or surfacing. No fighting with their co-habitants, just peaceful co-existence in their small environment.

Now, however, that is not universally their temperament. There are some species that are very aggressive and dangerous to their water-mates.

My mind was captured by the beauty, but equally by their innate ability to co-exist peacefully with fish of several different breeds (shape, size, color). This is what we are supposed to be and do if we are ‘in Christ’. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). But are we? I confess that I have problems looking at others without making some form of judgment. As you are ‘swimming around’ in your small pond, do you find the same thing happening? Why? The short version is SIN! It has robbed us of our original destiny and we even accommodate it. Maybe they do, but I didn’t detect the goldfish making any divisive moves-all I saw was them graciously giving others their space and avoiding conflict.

Check this out! ‘If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors”‘ (Jas. 2:8,9). I stand convicted! I think there are times when we need to step aside, get alone with Jesus and let His Spirit lead us in major self-examination. Communion is a covenantal time to also examine our hearts.

Read  I Cor. 11:27-32. Verse 31 states it clearly; “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.”

Jesus spoke plainly as recorded in Matthew 5. He was addressing ‘murder in the heart’. OUCH! “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (vss. 23,24). For sure, brother means those ‘in Christ’, and aren’t they sometimes the ones against whom we make the worst judgments? Harboring resentment, envying, backbiting, demeaning their names through gossip; it is so easy. Maybe not always spoken but reserved in our hearts.

It’s really quite simple. We may try to twist it to suit ourselves or to justify our feelings and actions, but it really boils down to this fact; we must forgive and seek forgiveness. Jesus did not mince words when He said; “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men and their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt. 6:14,15). It is not to force anything on us or harm us; it is because He knows that it is the best thing for us and for others.

As I stood there gazing, I was convinced the goldfish got it. The question for us is, do we? Have you ever looked into a fish tank that has not been cared for? We Christians can dirty up our pools in so many ways. The water gets a little milky, then murky and finally the stench becomes quite unbearable. Healthy goldfish need a healthy environment to prosper and so do we! Have you cleaned your tank lately?

Copyright 2013
By Bill C. Dotson
Scripture taken from the New King James Version
Certain facts on goldfish were taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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