left hand right handYesterday, we saw examples in both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the use of the left hand and the right hand.  Today, we examine what the left hand and the right hand symbolize, then apply that symbolism to the passages we previously read.
According to the website https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0017_0_16755.html:
“The biblical usages of “right” and “left” are basically fourfold: right as opposed to left; directions (cardinal points); strength and weakness; merism. As is the case in many cultures, right is favored over left in various contexts.”  Merism is a word that means everywhere, in any direction.  It goes on further to state:
“In rabbinic theology, God’s right hand represents the Attribute of Mercy, his left hand, the Attribute of Judgment.”
What we see, then, are two important principles: 1) the right is favored, or greater than the left; and 2) the right hand represents mercy, and the left hand judgment.  Now, let us reconsider the passages we read yesterday.  In the first passage, Christ Jesus was instructing His disciples:
Matt. 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
When Christ was speaking to His disciples, they understood that the right hand represents mercy, and the left hand judgment.  Christ, then, was implying that when they were giving, they were not to let the left hand of judgment know what the right hand of mercy was doing.  In other words, they were to give mercifully without judgment.  This applies to us as saints of God today.  When we give, we are not to judge those to whom we are giving; rather, we are to give mercifully, in the same way that God indeed had mercy on us when we were estranged from him.  Have you judged those to whom you have given, or those from whom you have withheld giving?  Have you observed someone and thought “they deserve to be where they are,” or “they are too lazy to get out and work,” or any other number of thoughts that may run through your mind as you judge that person based upon what you see?  Our Lord is charging us to give mercifully without judgment.  We are to be just as merciful as Zacchaeus:
Luke 19:And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
This type of merciful giving is the result of a renewed mind, a mind that understands that God had mercy on me, and now I must show mercy toward others.
Tomorrow, we will examine Jonah 4:11 in light of this renewed understanding.