“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1-2 NLT)
We’re creatures of habit and the older we get the harder it is to change. However, problems arise when we hold so tightly to our habits, we ignore our hang-ups; we get so comfortable in our sinful attitudes, our behavior becomes destructive to ourselves and others.
Matt Chandler wrote: “Our churches should be environments where it’s okay to not be okay, while simultaneously saying it’s not okay to stay there.” When “who we are” becomes code for “I’m not willing to change,” there’s a problem. When stubbornness becomes habitual sinfulness, that’s not okay.
The above verse is an excerpt from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and precedes His discussion of someone wanting to remove a speck from a person’s eye when they have a log in their own eye. What’s He describing?
Sin blurs our vision when it comes to our own sin but magnifies another person’s sin in our eyes. Typically, what we can’t face in ourselves becomes crystal clear when we see it in someone else.
Let’s say for example, that you’re always late. Fifteen to twenty minutes late is your “on time.” But we have lunch scheduled and I arrive a few minutes after you. Of all people you should understand, right? Wrong! You jump down my throat about how valuable your time is and how inconsiderate it is for me to waste your time by being a few minutes late. A bit hypocritical, huh!
These are the folks who are the church’s professional “fruit inspectors!” When you do something that they don’t like, they’re not “judging,” they’re just inspecting your spiritual fruit. What should you do? How should you handle a person like this?
According to Jesus, “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” (Matthew 7:6) So, what should you do?
It’s no accident that immediately following these verses Jesus goes into a discourse on effective praying. “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks the door will be opened.” (vss. 7-8)
Often our attitude can be challenged by people who profess one thing but live something else. They’re not okay and will likely never be okay except by a move of God in their lives. Without repentance and persistent dependence upon the Lord, it’s impossible to change. That’s the point of persistent prayer. To pray for those caught in the cycle of hypocrisy, but also for ourselves.
Satan’s plan is to drag us down by causing us to focus on the bad example of people who profess one thing but live another. We’re tempted to inadvertently follow their wrong path by complaining about them to others (gossip). That’s not okay either. Our goal is to pray consistently for them and to persistently pursue the Lord ourselves, seeking to learn what He would teach us through our interactions with them.
Not being okay is okay for new believers but is inexcusable for those of us who have walked with the Lord for many years. Our lives should be lived above reproach. That doesn’t mean we’re perfect, but it should mean we’re quick to admit when we’re not okay and be quick to seek forgiveness and correction from the Lord and others as He leads us.
Blessings, Ed 😊