This past week, a friend of my posted a status on Facebook that caught my attention and started an epically long chain of comments. In her status she posited a suggestion that once a year we ought to be able to post whatever we are thinking rather than the passive aggressive sorts of things we often share with any and everyone who will listen (or in this case, read). It struck me as I scrolled through people’s responses (as well as my own) that the majority focused on what drove us bonkers about others. From text speak to grammatical errors, carpool line cutters, and the excessive use of selfies each person gave vent to their anger and frustration over somewhat trivial issues. Most of it made me laugh, quite literally, out loud, but a lot of it also convicted me.
As I read through the comments I noticed a two things: I do many of the things that irritate others, and others became defensive of the things they did that irritated me. For example, I have a personal, fiery, hatred for text speak, and while some agreed with me, others declared proudly that they used it all the time. On the flip side, one person dumped on adult high-fivers, an action I may or may not participate in on a daily basis.
It sort of embarrassed me a little. But I think that’s a good thing. Seeing other’s irritation at things I did rather cooled the flame of my own annoyance towards personal pet peeves; not that I suddenly became ok with them (good grammar is no laughing matter ;-)) but I discovered a little more grace.
I think it’s the same way with sin.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and [a]by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
I can be such a Pharisee sometimes. Growing up in a Christian home and being born with the insatiable desire to please everyone around me, I have always been a “good” kid who cringed at the thought of challenging authority figures or getting mixed up in the drama my friends always found themselves in. I’d been taught that I wasn’t righteous, that Christ’s sacrifice alone made me acceptable to God, and I would have told you I believed it, but quite frankly, I don’t think I really did.
Then the mirror got turned around. God began to shine a spotlight on the ugliness in my heart, the rottenness of my motivations, the untrusting fear that lead me to protect myself in any way possible and drove me from deeper relationships…the stench of death was and is so overwhelming that it often knocks me to my knees. It sucks. I don’t like seeing myself for who I really am, twisted and bent by sin. But as the whitewash is peeled away I find my heart becoming more gracious towards others. Like the situation with my pet peeves I continue to hate sin; it’s a cancer, it’s not God’s best, it poisons everything around us, but the Pharisee slowly shuts his mouth and my standard of measure is altered significantly.
Do you ever find the fire of your fury cooled when your own sin comes into view?
My prayer is matched with a promise, that “He Who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)