Strong spirits: don't be a speck-spotter!
Besides not being religious, another thing God does not want us to be is a speck-spotter. We all do it. You know, find the one thing wrong with a person or a situation when there is a world of good in that person or situation. More importantly, there may well be a world of wrong in ourselves, and yet we are focusing our attention on this speck in another.
It has to do with how we see things. It has to do with our eyes. Can we see the beauty all around us? Can we see people as God sees them? Can we see situations from God's perspective?
Of course, there is a place for constructive criticism. There is always a need for speaking the truth in love. But I believe that God would have us first notice and appreciate the good, before we seek to correct what is wrong in others. He would have us try to correct our own problems and issues before we attempt to do so for others.
"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Jesus to his followers (Matthew 7:3)
"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Jesus again (Matthew 7:1)
It's simple, really, but not easy... Find fault with yourself first, and with God's help, seek to improve that. Find the good in others and applaud it. It's more likely that they will find their own fault, when you appreciate the good in them. And when you have recognized your own faults, and received God's mercy for them, you are much better poised to help another with theirs.
Don't be a speck-spotter!
Gary Schwerin serves as pastor at Caledonia Congregational Church. He is also the Spiritual Development Minister for the YMCA of the Rock River Valley and Executive Director of Bridge Ministries of Rockford. Prior to launching Bridge Ministries, Gary spent many years in leadership with Young Life. His column appears every Sunday.