Regret crushed my heart! I had unknowingly hurt a loved one with my judgmental attitude. She was brave enough to confront me and share her pain. I was shocked and defended myself but soon concluded that even if I didn’t remember that instance there were plenty of other times I had been disapproving and critical. God has been gradually opening my eyes for years to how judgmental and self-righteous I have been in my life especially when I was younger.
When I was young it was easy to take on a few “rules” I knew I could keep and make that my measure of what kind of Christian I was. I chose certain rules (which were emphasized in my teaching) and hid behind them. Rules like don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance, stay a virgin till you’re married and go to church every week. I found I could manage these handpicked rules and got pretty good at keeping them.
Soon I was proud of the fact I kept these rules and judged those who didn’t. All the while I was blind to what Jesus Himself said were the MOST important commandments:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
I overlooked or ignored teaching such as:
“If I…do not have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2
“Love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1
“…Who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:12b
“There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10
I hid behind these outward acts and “appeared” good while inside I was filled with fear, impatience, selfishness, pride, greed, and judging others.
God has patiently been pruning me and teaching me for years to show me a better way and He will continue to do so until I die. But I have to be on guard against being judgmental (I am very much aware how my righteousness is like filthy rags before God). I am realizing how people have been hurt by my judging attitude.
As I was considering how ugly my sin has been and pondered on instances when I hurt others, I started to get bogged down in feeling “unworthy”. Unworthy to teach, write or serve Him. But self-focus for any reason is not a good place to be.
God set me free with this Scripture, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
I am not sufficient, competent, qualified or adequate in myself and I never have been. My sufficiency, adequacy, competence, or qualification comes from God and God alone. He has made me sufficient to serve Him. He has enabled me to be a minister of the new covenant. NOT because of the letter (which kills), not because I can keep the law which I can’t BUT because of the Spirit who gives life. Trying to live by the letter of the law is futile and ultimately if one is not trusting in Christ, it leads to eternal death. If a believer tries to live by the letter of the law, it leads to frustration, self-condemnation, sometimes depression and most often not being real with others.
It makes me sad that I have hurt others but God’s grace covers even that. His grace forgives the self-righteous Pharisee as well as the one whose sin is known by all. His grace covers anyone who comes to Jesus believing.
Thank you Jesus! Because of you and you alone, I am qualified to serve you! You are my sufficiency! You are my competence. You make me qualified. Dear Lord please love and serve through me. Use me in spite of my weakness. Use my weakness for your glory. I love you so much!
Originally published as “A Pointing Finger, A Fiery Tongue” at Internet Cafe Devotions
Photo courtesy of succo at Pixabay.com