A friend in college once shared a very simple principle he was attempting to put into practice in his own life. “I have to hate sin-my own sin.” I’ll never forget that.
How easy it is for us to judge the sins of others and ignore our own. The devil likes to do that in the church-to create little roving bands of Keystone Cops determined to exterminate the faults of others. However, God doesn’t want us to look outward, but inward.
Here’s a good test. You’re sitting in church and the pastor raises a point. What is your heart’s response? Do you say to yourself, ‘I hope so-and-so is really listening today’? If so, you’ve got the wrong perspective.
Criticism of others is a hard habit to shed, especially in the church. That’s why James, the first pastor of the first church in Jerusalem, spent so much time talking about the danger of the tongue. The tongue can be used to either lift up others or bring them down.
What’s the answer? Grace. Grace loves and accepts others in spite of their flaws. Grace acknowledges our own sinful condition. Grace remembers God’s own loving mercy.
You may never completely overcome your criticism – but you can improve. How? By asking God to fill your heart with grace. By asking him to give you a love for people. By using the lens of Scripture to search your own heart.
Let’s stop looking at people with judging eyes. Let’s be people of grace.
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder