As a child of the living God, I fail daily.
I know the standards I desire to live, but I fall short of acquiring those standards.
Some days are worse than others. Some days pass by unnoticed, while others require my attention at the foot of the cross….again. On those days I have failed miserably.
I return once more to repent. Tears stream down my cheeks, my heart breaks in the knowledge of who I am. I turn to the Lord and ask forgiveness, knowing I am granted that forgiveness as soon as the request leaves my lips.
I am grateful. Thankful. I have a gracious and merciful God. I have a gentle Savior; one who understands.
I am truly blessed.
I pick myself up and get on with my life. My day progresses.
Later that day, I find myself standing beside a stranger; someone who is ill-mannered.
I make certain this person knows I am displeased with their behavior. I turn away. I emit an aura of self smugness. I am better than this.
Immediately, I am convicted.
I have been forgiven and yet I judge and condemn.
I could have stood there silently and politely. No, I did not speak with words. But my eyes, my contorted mouth, my body language; they said it all.
Me, a Christ follower, who sinned and has been forgiven.
The stranger beside me is not one I believe to be a Christ follower. Yet, he might be. Regardless, I have no right to judge or condemn.
I recall the words I spoke earlier, the words from a broken and repentant heart.
Yet, I refuse to be gracious. I refuse to be kind. I refuse to be silent in my gestures.
It is too easy for me to condemn and criticize; far too easy.
I expect others to live up to the standards that I myself fail to live up to.
Stumbling, I find my way back to the Lord and say a prayer.
“Lord Jesus, forgive this person and help him to find you. Help him to find the acceptance, the peace, and the love, that only you can offer.”
Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (NIV)
In John 8:7, referring to the story of the woman caught in adultery; when the people wanted her stoned to death, Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (NIV)