[If you think you can judge others you are wrong]
Back in September, God began teaching me about pride. However, it wasn’t until November, that I finally began to catch on. It was also then, that I began to realize this: It’s easy to recognize sin in others, it’s much more difficult to recognize it in yourself.
I was becoming more impatient and frustrated with certain individuals. I was bothered enough that I ended up emailing a friend to blow off some steam. I realized later that I’d overreacted. It was stupid. I admitted this. However, at this point I hadn’t yet connected it to pride.
Unfortunately, I didn’t just do this once. Not long after my first release of steam, I did it once again. I was overthinking things and my focus was way off. It was on myself and what others were doing.
When I realized that pride wasn’t exactly what I thought it was, I felt quite foolish. I also felt a little paranoid that perhaps I was doing everything wrong. I suppose this is a good thing; I’m examining myself more closely, and I’ve learned that pride can even lurk behind good intentions. (More on this in a moment.)
Pride can be sneaky. When I was frustrated, I wasn’t thinking or feeling as if I were better than so-and-so, but when I’ve been hurt or offended, my focus can quickly shift to how I feel. I can then judge people’s words and actions.
This realization nailed me because I do love to love; I want to help, and I enjoy encouraging and building others up, but here’s where pride can lurk behind good intentions: as I become more gung-ho to “save the universe,” I can forget that it’s God who’s doing the saving, not me. I can also lose sight of the fact that I still need work, myself.
While I try to maintain this perspective, apparently I can lose sight of the truth. The bottom line is this: who am I to judge, when I do wrong myself? (I didn’t realize that I was judging…)
If we’re examining ourselves, which is a much healthier way to focus on self, we can keep moving forward. If we can’t see where we err, we also can’t see just how much we’ve been forgiven. As a result, we will love “little.” (Luke 7:47) Why? Because we will judge others.
It’s difficult to love someone while you’re pointing fingers. Therefore, It’s only when we recognize our own sin (aka: taking the plank out of our own eye), that we can make our course corrections, and then we can help others to do the same.
Just after I finished my original draft of this piece I read Mitch Teemley’s post: It’s His Kindness. This was definitely a God thing–not only had Mr. Teemley used the same verse that I’ve used for my own piece, but his perspective was also just what I needed.
What he wrote was this: “It is commonly believed that repentance must come before forgiveness. Aren’t you glad God disagrees?”
I was thankful for this reminder. I was beating myself up. I was down, and feeling as if maybe I should just be quiet because I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.
God corrects us like any good father would because He loves us. He knows that we don’t always recognize what were doing. That’s why Jesus said on the cross, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”
When pride clipped my wings mid flight, it felt as if I was free falling from grace, but thankfully belonging to Jesus means that we don’t lose His love and support. (Psalm 37:24) Repentance may require a change in our hearts and actions, but we’re given time and help to do so. Therefore, we should extend that same grace to others, and then go ahead and live like we’re loved.
“If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you are really judging yourself guilty, because you do the same things they do. God judges those who do wrong things, and we know that His judging is right. You judge those who do wrong, but you do wrong yourselves. Do you think you will be able to escape the judgment of God? He has been very kind and patient, waiting for you to change, but you think nothing of His kindness. Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives.” –Romans 2:1-4 (NCV)