…God’s kindness leads you to repentance… (Rom.2:4)
Last night with friends we were talking and sharing. At a certain point in the conversation I chose to make a comment about my husband. Uncalled for. Catty. Pointing out something that needn’t be brought up.
This morning I felt like a mean girl and I really felt a connection with Paul when he writes: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing…. what a wretched person I am! (Rom.7:15,18-19,24)
What am I called to be in this world? Love personified. Jesus with skin on.
So what gives anyway? What’s with the mean streak?
I brought the issue before God in prayer and a few Scriptures surfaced:
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things. (Rom.2:1)
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stand or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? … Therefore, let us stop passing judgement on one another. (Rom.14:4, 10, 13)
And then in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for his Highest, I read:
If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others…. Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending your time trying to get others right with God before You worship him yourself…
What leapt out for me was the idea about seeing where other people are failing and turning it into intercession on their behalf. What if we did that every time we were tempted to criticize someone, either in front of them or behind their back? Turn our criticism into a prayer instead. Lift them up before the Lord and pray for the opposite to come into their life.
Thank you, Jesus, for your Word today that shines light into my dark places. Thank you that because you are kind and good, that you lead us to see our sin, our faults, and the way that we need to change.Would you remind us, Holy Spirit, in those moments when we notice something about someone, that we can lift that person before you in prayer, rather than dwell in a place of criticism? Lord, we are no better than the other. You tell us to think of others as better than ourselves. Father, we need to know that humility. Please teach us to pray for others with your eyes, your kindness, your love foremost. Thank you for your grace, Lord. Amen.