Last week I found myself judging someone for doing something that I later realized I was equally guilty of. I was in deep thought about that individual’s conduct, questioning their character, but as I strolled a little further down that trail of thought, I could see that I had been conducting myself in the same way and could easily find a few good reasons to question my own character. Repentance was in order.
On our journey of personal growth and development, it can be easy to look down on those that find themselves in the same place mentally, emotionally and spiritually year after year. But we shouldn’t. We, too, were stagnant at one time. It took us becoming sick of who we were to decide to become something else – someone better.
When addressing the tendency of us humans to criticize one another, Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”(Matthew 7:3-5)
Even while standing in the mirror trying to remove the particles from our eye, what we will find is that self-improvement doesn’t completely rid us of our planks – on the contrary, it will reveal new ones. It will give us new things to work on, bringing to light any destructive habits that we could do without. The only stick we should measure ourselves against is our own. Have you grown at all recently? Have you improved in ways that are evident to those around you? Can you honestly say that you are a better version of yourself today than you were 5 years ago? Or have you stayed the same?
I know I talk a lot about growth on my blog but that is reflective of where I am right now in my own journey and for that I am deeply grateful. The fact that my heavenly Father feels I am worth the investment of His time to help me mature in Him, increasing in knowledge and wisdom, lets me know that His love for me runs deep. And He has that same depth of love for you.
Toddy Henry said, “Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside you. Choose to die empty.” But none of us can die empty if we don’t cultivate what we are carrying. What we currently have inside of us is raw potential but God desires to refine that into something that can be useful to all of humanity – something that will benefit everyone it reaches – and we have a big part to play in the cultivation of that potential.
When we focus inward on all of the improvements that can be done on us, we won’t have time to judge our brothers and sisters or concern ourselves with where they have fallen short – especially if our intention for doing so isn’t to help them do better.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo