Those things which a man cannot amend in himself or in others, he ought patiently to bear, until God shall otherwise ordain.
We will that others be straitly corrected, but we will not be corrected ourselves. The freedom of others displeaseth us, but we are dissatisfied that our own wishes shall be denied us. We desire rules to be made restraining others, but by no means will we suffer ourselves to be restrained. Thus therefore doth it plainly appear how seldom we weigh our neighbour in the same balance with ourselves.
But now hath God ordained, that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens, because none is without defect, none without a burden, none sufficient of himself, none wise enough of himself; but it behoveth us to bear with one another, to comfort one another, to help, instruct, admonish one another. How much strength each man hath is best proved by occasions of adversity; for such occasions do not make a man frail, but show of what temper he is.
(The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis, The First Book, page 17)
It is so easy to see the faults of others, after all, they are often before us like a flashing neon light. We tend to think they will never change, and perhaps that is so.
Lately, I have been trying to overlook the faults of others and have been asking myself, “What is in ME that the Lord has been wanting and trying to change, and has not yet changed?
The above quote brought several thoughts:
- We are each responsible for ourselves. “For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body” (2 Corinthians 5:10, NLT). Christ is the judge, not me. I am to let Him do the necessary work in others. It is not up to me to change others. I am only responsible to let God work in my life.
- We must remain correctable and teachable. “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!” (Psalm 86:11. NLT) We must have hearts that remain soft and malleable in the hands of our God, who will be faithful to instruct us in all our ways.
- None of us is without faults. Paul in writing to the Romans states, “No one is righteous – not even one” (Romans 3:10, NLT). He goes further and writes, “For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT). Each of us falls short of God’s standard. May we not hold each other to our own standards, which are imperfect and harsh.
We all have faults and shortcomings. God wants us to learn to love one another in spite of those and let Him do the needed work in each of us. Let’s be more like Him –
“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:24, NLT)
Imperfect and redeemed.
That is what we are!