How easy it is to see the sin in another’s life! How easy it is to judge another for what we do, but don’t acknowledge! How easy it is to condemn someone else for what we fail to see in ourselves. All this happens because our denials about our own shortcomings cause us to project the same issues on other people and to then rail about their “sin.” Jesus said it best: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” [Luke 6:42, Matthew 7:3-5]
How much bigger does the sin in another’s life look to us, as we ignore our own? How much do we project our own sin onto others, so that we don’t see them or ourselves in truth? The truth is that we are all not perfect. We have strayed, we have erred, we have mistreated others, we have hurt the people we love. We are imperfect human beings with free will. When will we embrace that truth?
If we find ourselves judging another, we should first look at our own selves to see what we are hiding from ourselves. Is it sin? Is it pain and suffering that we don’t want to acknowledge? Is it a past event we feel guilty about? Something we said or did that was not right? Something that was done to us? Are we still angry or fearful about something? Part of living the life in Christ is to own all that we are, all that we have said and done, and all that was done to us. If we can’t own these things, we are not living in the truth about ourselves. How can we be helpful to others if we cannot see the truth in ourselves? How can we love God with all of ourselves if we deny what is true about us? Will we only bring the good parts of us to God? What good is that when He wants all of us? [Mark 12:30-31] We forget that God knows everything about us, so we are really only fooling ourselves.
I think that not owning all that we are means we are also holding God’s love for us at bay. If we can’t look at the truth about ourselves, then we can’t face God as we are. Being human means that we probably will never be wholly His, but if we can acknowledge our failings and our challenges, then we can face God fully, warts and all. And He will show us how to love exactly who we are—the good, the bad and the ugly. Did the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son turn his back on the errant son when he came home in disgrace? No, he welcomed him with open arms, with celebration. Did He complain about his son’s behavior? No, He restored him to his place in the family. He never once complained about all that he had done. [Luke 15:11-32]
This is the way God loves us, embraces us, delivers us from our past. As we bring our whole selves to Him, His love and forgiveness heals and transforms what has been so that it no longer haunts us or pulls us back to the past. Following His example, we can embrace and even love what we have done or at least understand why we did it. We no longer have to hold off God’s love and forgiveness, because we can’t forgive ourselves. We no longer have to hide who we are to anyone, because we can live with all that we are. And when we can bring our whole ourselves to God in love, we can fulfill Jesus’ Two Great Commandments. [Matthew 22:36-40] When we can accept and feel God’s love for us and even begin to love ourselves, how could we withhold that love from anyone?
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I judging others? Possibly for what I do myself, but don’t acknowledge? Will I face exactly who I am? Have I ever felt God’s love for me? Do I love and accept myself and all that I’ve done and all that’s been done to me? Do I see some lessons learned in the challenges I’ve had?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who put their whole selves in the hands of God. May we show God’s love in everything we do. May we love everyone.
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My book, “Exodus: Our Story, Too!” is available on amazon.com under my full name, Patricia Said Adams. Read there how your life can be transformed by encountering God in the wilderness.