Sometimes, I find myself thinking I’m a “good” Christian. I look at others, I see all the things they get wrong . . . they don’t read or study their bible as much as they should, they’re not praying enough, their family life is a mess, their marriage is on the rocks, they need to watch what they say, think, do, etc. . . . but me? I’m a “good” Christian.
More like a whitewashed tomb (Matthew 23:27). I look great on the outside. But some sins aren’t so obvious and blatant . . . they’re sneaky and covert . . . pride, arrogance . . . they aren’t nearly as easy to see, but just as, if not more, dangerous. Thinking I have the market on faith . . . on a relationship with God and the Holy Spirit and Jesus . . . pride . . . arrogance . . . I am not, nor will I ever be, a “good” follower of Christ in my own right. I am a sinner saved by grace. My own righteous, my own goodness, my own works toward being a “good” Christian, are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). But God . . . but Jesus . . . His blood is what makes me whole and clean and righteous.
Pride is a sneaky thing. Arrogance isn’t always obvious. Especially to ourselves. I wholeheartedly believe that if we are in Christ, we are a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I also believe that we have to continually go back to Jesus for a heart check . . . for monitoring . . . to be sure that we’re dealing with our own issues . . . that we’re not walking in the flesh but in the Spirit (Galatians 5:17) . . . before pointing out everyone else’s issues. The old saying about how when you’re pointing the finger at someone else you have three more pointing back at yourself comes to mind here.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
Those first seven words are misused and taken out of context so often. There is a time and place to call out sin. Sin is sin . . . wrong is wrong . . . I will readily acknowledge that, and we are called to judge with the bible as our standard not our own thoughts and opinions. It’s the attitude and the intent behind the judgment that is the issue. It’s the pride and the arrogance that so often fuel our judgment that are the problem because make no mistake, if we’re judging from a place of pride and arrogance, we’re not judging with the right heart. We’re so busy pointing out the sins of others while we’re totally blind to our own sins. Too often we’re screaming at the world to fix themselves, which is totally impossible as it is, when we need to be pulling that plank out of our own eye before passing judgment. And when we do judge the purpose is to bring healing and wholeness in helping to remove the speck from the eye of others.
If we look to Paul, he did an amazing job of dealing with and confronting the sins of the early church, while still remaining aware of and humble regarding who he was. Pride wasn’t in Paul’s playbook. He knew where he had come from. He knew Who he belonged to. He knew his right standing with God was only because of Jesus.
And that’s it. I’ve said it before, I’m a work in progress. But God reminded me of that this morning. That sometimes, I need to take a minute and evaluate my own heart . . . y’all there is NOTHING wrong with stepping back and taking an account of where we are in our hearts . . . conviction is not a crime but a gift from God . . . rather than trying to dissect the hearts and attitudes of others maybe look at my own for a minute or two. Because a lot of times, the faults I see in others are the biggest ones in my own life.