Recently I noticed myself complaining about others, and eventually the human race in general. Am I alone here? I was annoyed and had run into what I considered a some rude and maybe annoying, selfish people in a short amount of time. I sat down contemplating a compilation of the rudeness I’ve seen and heard over the last few months and saw my dog come over to me and I thought, you know, he’s my best friend and I’d be okay never dealing with humanity again, and just living -me and my dog. Then suddenly I felt a dose of reality trying to work it’s way into my heart and mind. I realized that I have done some of the same things I was complaining that others did. I wasn’t being loving and I had to forgive all in love and move on. Perhaps as I step out of covid hibernation, I need to remember how to deal Christ like with others and remember we are not at home stuck with the same people that had to put up with us for the last year.
I felt bad for a while and sat down to do my bible study that I do on Sunday nights on zoom with friends.
We were studying Luke 17-18, there is a lot of great scripture in there but as I read Luke 18:9-14 :
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[b]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
I wondered if I was being like the Pharisee who looked down on the tax collector when I was complaining about others. Was I being like the Pharisee in my frustration? I think I was. I’m glad I checked myself (well God did) and with that, I looked up more scripture about judging and criticizing others which are listed below. Bottom line, is that the law is for me to obey, not to use it to judge ( criticize, complain) others. I am not God, only He is the judge. It was quite freeing and none of what bothered me before bothers me now. I really don’t know what people are going through and I don’t want to destroy the gift of Joy God has put in my heart with a weed of bitterness. (having joy is much more fun!)
Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends Ps 15:1-4
Scripture from Matthew 7:2-6, James 4:11-12, Romans 2:1-4, Romans 12
Don’t Judge others, don’t criticize others and don’t speak evil of others. You will be treated as you treat others, if you judge others, you will be judged; the same standard you use to judge will be used against you. If you judge others for doing these things, you cannot avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things. When you judge others, you are actually condemning yourself, for you do these very things and we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things.
As we look at others in judgment and condemnation, complaining about them, thinking we can condemn such people, we need to realize that we are just as bad, and have no excuse. We worry about the speck in a friends eye, and haven’t checked ourselves for the log in our own eye. Don’t be a hypocrite! Get rid of the log in your own eye, so you can see well enough to deal with the speck in your friends eye.
When you criticize others, you are criticizing God’s law. That’s not your job, God is the judge. Your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether or not it applies to you. Remember that is its God alone who has the power to save or destroy. I think what God is saying here is “Hey! you are not God, so don’t act like it. You are not God”
Scripture tells us to consider ourselves and the big sin God can see in our heart before we confront someone else with an obviously smaller sin than we have hidden within us and right after these instructions, it says not to waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs, they will trample you and attack you. So first we’re told to check ourselves and then maybe or maybe not deal with the other person and do so with Godly discernment which may mean keeping quiet.
Well then, I stand corrected. If someone is what I consider rude, I’ll say as my young niece says : ” Who matters, who cares” (say it with a Jersey shake and a New York accent for the full effect)
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:1-4
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:14-18
Remember the importance of forgiveness