How we see ourselves matters. Once when Jesus was teaching, a ruler asked him a question addressing him “Good teacher.” Jesus, before he addressed the question, replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” What do we see here? If no one is good, then you and I are surely included. Jesus, in this instance, turned the question back on the man. “You know the commandments, how are you doing?” The man answered that he was flawless in regard to the commandments - he already saw himself as being good. But Jesus saw that this man was not as good as he saw himself to be, because he was a slave to greed and materialism, and Jesus did not let him off the hook. For this reason, Christianity insists that we continue to talk about sin. All of us have failings. All of us sometimes fail to perceive that our motives are not as pure and righteous as we want to believe that they are. But for many of us, we would rather see ourselves as already being good, or at least good enough that we can look around and take stock of how others have not gotten to our level. But when we start to think of ourselves as good (enough), we are in direct disagreement with Jesus. Not someplace I care to be. Let us keep it firmly in mind, achieving goodness is always an unfinished task.
You may look at something being done, or not being done and immediately say to yourself, “Hmmmph! That person is messing up, they need to be straightened up RIGHT NOW!” But that is not the way that the Church is supposed to be. I would like people to be patient with my short-comings. Do you not want the same? I know that there are things I can do better, so I am working on them. But if someone is jumping all over my case about those weaknesses, that is not going to be the most effective way to encourage my improvement. Sometimes people need to make improvements, but when we approach those situations, we must do so humbly and with first having remembered how many are our own weaknesses.
The reason you and I need to keep looking in the mirror and continuing to see those sins and flaws, is so that we are strongly reminded just as those around us are imperfect, so also are you and I. Our first response must not be judgment, but patience. Jesus on the cross gave you another chance. Now it is your turn to give someone else another chance. Do not forget Job #1, “Love one another.”
Blessings, Pastor Ted