Daily D – Matthew 7:1-2
“The“Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use.
MATTHEW 7:1-2 (CSB)
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.” (The Message)
These are some of the most frightening words in the Bible.
My last few days have been spent in an environment where every word has been measured, calculated even, to ensure precision and accuracy. At one point, three men sat on a stage and answered questions while attempting to work in all of the current buzzwords to prove their individual fidelity.
It is easy to criticize. It is hard not to become legalistic in doing so. A critical spirit is an easy habit to make, and a hard one to break.
Each of us probably bears an enlarged measure of a critical spirit in one area or another. What are the pinch points for you? I prefer not to confess my own sins in public any more than I have to, so let’s talk about yours. This, of course, is a somewhat clever dodge related to my sinful pride.
My Pride Detector was on full alert while walking around a large convention center the last few days. I was not always successful in stopping my judgmental tendencies from becoming energized at critical moments.
The most effective way I have found to recover from critical observations is prayer. If someone comes up short of your expectations, pray for them. Pray for yourself first. Make sure your judgment is accurate and fair. Make sure you are honestly seeking God’s best for that person. Make sure that you measure up to your own standard. Then pray for the other person and for yourself.
This life-giving habit will fill the space where criticism used to dwell. It makes it possible to relate to others with kindness. It lowers the temperature. It calms stormy waters. It makes it possible to look at the other person through the eyes of Jesus.
I will pray when I prefer to criticize.
Our Father, I often can justify my critical nature. However, I do not want my critical nature applied equally to every part of my own life. I want others to treat me with grace, mercy, and kindness in the areas where I fall short. Empower me to lead with grace, mercy, and kindness toward others like you do with me. Teach me how to seek your highest and best for those who fall short in my estimation. Teach me to pray for myself as I pray for them. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)