June 7, 2014 by Stacy McDonald

At Least I’m Not Like Them…

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“With the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)

Ouch! We can usually dish it out, but we can’t take it!

Lord, help me to be more merciful to those who have offended me! I may not have sinned in the same way she did (James 2:11–13), but I have certainly sinned in other ways – ways that, to some, would seem equally or even more grievous.

You, Lord, are the only righteous and fully trustworthy Judge, and You have extended grace and mercy to me in all my wretched unloveliness. Who am I (Job 38)?

Help my response to the sins of others be saturated in humility, with a keen and constant awareness of my own sin and redemption.

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy…(James 2:13)

It is so easy to look at the vile sins of others and congratulate ourselves (and one another) that we are at least not like THEM. Phew! But, if we look closely, we may discover that we have sins that other people see (or God sees) in an equally reprehensible way. And, yes, I needed this reminder from God’s Word this morning. It is so easy to focus on our own hurt.

We say, “God, go get him!” But, Jesus says, “You know not what you ask! (Matt 20:22)” As Nathan warned David, “You are the man.” (2 Samuel 12:5–7) When we desire to see “justice” visited upon our neighbor, we should soberly consider what that means for us.

Regardless of what sort of evil you are condemning or what sort of innocent you are defending, it is no excuse for arrogance, mockery, bitterness, condemnation, or spite. And to sympathetically encourage those things in others is equally harmful. These are not the new Fruits of the Spirit.

There is no honor (and much shame) in allowing sin to go unchecked in the Church, but our response to it should still be saturated in humility, with a keen and constant awareness of our own sin and redemption. So, be careful or you may find yourself praying like the Pharisee…

“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14)

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