Everyone once in a while we all need a reality check. It is not fun, but it is necessary to keep us in right standing with both God and our fellow man. It is very easy to point out failures in others and ignore our own. It is even easier to feel superior to others, especially non-believers who are living in the world; however, even missionaries, ministers, and mature Christians need to remember from whence they come.
In the book of Titus, Paul reminds Titus of the gospel. Now Titus was a missionary left by Paul, so why did he feel it necessary to remind Titus of the gospel? Titus 3:3 says, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Another translation says “we too.” At some point even the strongest of Christians was once lost in sin, and we were only saved by the grace of God, not our works. Something we would all do well to remember.
Another thing to keep in mind is that we are still sinners saved by grace and are not impervious to failure ourselves. Matthew 7:3 says, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”Before we start criticizing someone else, we should take a good look in the mirror first. None of us are pure enough to cast stones.
So, the next time you or I are tempted to point out someone’s failures or criticize with a smug smile, I hope we remember from whence we came and take a good look in the mirror. Then, maybe we will find humility and a desire to help instead of criticize. I know this world could use a little more humility and love and a lot less criticism and hate. Like Michael Jackson wrote, “Start with the man in the mirror” if you want to make a change in the world.
We’ve spent Monday nights in April studying the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. One concept that was discussed was fulfilling your role. Gideon was given a battle plan from God. In order for it to work everyone had to take their place and do their part. Like our physical bodies, if one part doesn’t work right, the rest of the body suffers and doesn’t work at its optimum capability. It has to make up for the missing or damaged part.
At the same time we were doing the Bible study, I have been working for a company online. During my shifts, there are managers who monitor the work. In previous years, I either ignored their presence or got irritated or discouraged when they gave me feedback, especially when it was negative feedback. I took it personally and got frustrated. I wanted to quit.
I also teach online and get frustrated when I give students feedback and they ignore it, or they get defensive. I am only trying to help them improve their writing and their grade. I’m just doing my job. Why aren’t they listening? I tried to make it clear that I was here to help. All they had to do was ask, but they rarely sought help or applied the help I tried to give in feedback.
It hit me that the monitors were also only doing their job and trying to help me improve and do my best so that the job was done correctly. They were there to give me help if I needed it. All I had to do was ask for their input and listen to their feedback and apply it. Why hadn’t I listened?
The Holy Spirit also works to give us feedback. He lets us know whether or not we are doing our job and doing it so that it will be most effective. The problem is we often don’t listen because we don’t want to do the job, or we take the constructive criticism too personally and get our feelings hurt. We each have a job to do for the Kingdom. If we don’t do it, the church has to take up our slack and suffers for it.
What is your job? Are you working to the best of your ability or are you refusing to do the work? Are you an employee of the month or a slacker? Doesn’t God deserve our very best effort? It’s time to find the job you were meant for and become the person you were meant to be…me included.