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I have been thinking on this verse, off & on, for a few weeks now. I read it, think about it, leave it alone for a few days – only to return. It is a most familiar verse….

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

It is a promise. The Lord completes what He starts. It reminds us that the Lord is not finished with us yet. I am so grateful for these words as they apply to my life. But there is something that has gotten under my skin……

Am I as quick to apply this verse to the life of others & cut them slack for their imperfections?

I do not want to be or become a critical person – someone that readily notices the shortcomings of others. I want to be an encourager – a person that helps others to move towards all that God intends for them to be. I want to be that in the life of my family, my friends, those I meet as I am out & about.

I think the root of a critical spirit may be pride – the mistaken opinion that we are doing OK, maybe even better than those around us. When we operate from this thought process, we tend to find things wrong in people & situations around us.

In his book, Humility, C.J. Mahaney explains it this way:

We mortify pride & cultivate humility by identifying evidences of grace in those around us – evidences that we become aware of only through a divine perspective that recognizes God’s active work and calling in their lives and that places full confidence in His faithfulness to complete the work He has begun. Without this perspective, we’ll always tend to be critical and pessimistic in our attitude towards others.

(page 109)

We must kill pride & cultivate humility. We must recognize that just like ourselves, others are also a work in progress. God will complete the work He has started in their lives as well as in our own. It is His work. It is His timetable. And He is the One that is faithful to finish.

May we all become encouragers – encouraging one another to grow in His grace. It might make all the difference in someone’s life, perhaps in our own life.

May 2013 be the year of encouragement.