This is the last installment in our It’s a Question of Pride Series, partially excerpted from my book, Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe. The issue of pride often rears its ugly head when it comes to how we treat others. Today’s question is a great reminder of how we’re to respond when we see our brothers and sisters sin.
How Do I Handle the Sin of Others?
When my grandson, Cole, was about three, he had trouble saying some of his letters. His older cousin, Ellie, had had a similar problem at that age. But even though I sometimes had difficulty understanding what Cole was trying to say, it was clear as a bell to him.
One day as we drove by a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, I said, “Cole, did you know Ellie used to call Chick-Fil-A, Chick-Er-Ray?”
I heard him slap his leg as he laughed. “Ha! Ha! Elwee used to call Chick-De-Way, Chick-Er-Ray!”
Oh, how quick we are to see the errors of others, but we’re so blinded by our own! In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. As the Pharisee stood proudly in the temple, he said, “God I thank you that I’m not like the other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
Then Jesus described the tax collector, so ashamed, he wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
How many times have we been like the Pharisee—“Thank you, God, that I’m not like her!”
Several years ago, I was at a conference where one of the speakers passionately told her story of how God had taken her from a life of sin, including several abortions, and brought her to a point of cleansing through new birth. Later that day, I overheard two women talking. “Well, I don’t think she should be up there speaking if she’s had those abortions! How awful!”
Yes, it was awful. That was the point of the speaker’s testimony. The lies we believe lead us to do some awful things, but the good news is, God is awesome! He can take us from that dark, evil life, wash us up, and send us on our way to be witnesses of His power and glory!
I wish I had spoken up that day, but I didn’t. My mind was reeling. Yes, this speaker had killed her babies, but how many people did Paul kill as he led the fight against Christianity? Hundreds? Thousands? Praise God He didn’t consider Paul unworthy to be His spokesperson!
Those women at the conference were not alone. If we’re honest, we have to admit we do the same thing. We look at others’ sins, weigh them against our own, and make judgment. Girls, that’s not what we’re told to do! We’re told to be open and transparent, honestly sharing what God has done in our lives! Paul says he’s the worst of sinners (I Timothy 1:15); Peter tells us to be ready to tell others what God has done for us (I Peter 3:15); and David admits his struggle with sin (Psalm 51).
When we stand in judgment at the confessed sin of others, we are taking glory in our own apparent goodness. We’re boasting, “Thank you, God, that my sins do not compare to hers!” But Galations 6:14 says, May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . .
Now, the time may come when you have to address another’s unconfessed sin. In that case, we are to lovingly, yet unapologetically, confront the issue. People often misinterpret the words of Jesus in Matthew 7, where He talks of judging others. If we look closely, we see that He doesn’t say we aren’t to confront their sin. Instead, He says, “First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew7:5) He’s telling us we must evaluate our own hearts first and confess any sin, including our motive. Then—and only then—can we sit down with another and address her sin.
Ladies, let’s step away from the judgment seat and step into the role of advocate for the hurting and the lost. Whether we’re listening to another’s story, or telling one of our own, let’s use the opportunity to share His love and forgiveness with women in need.
Heaven will be different because of it.
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . Galatians 6:14
Grace and peace,
(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)