Monday, February 18, 2013

The Distraction of a Judgmental Attitude

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.  –Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV)

Anytime a high profile pastor experiences what we would call a fall from grace it tends to be big news.  Sadly, a watching world seems to be waiting for the next church leader to admit to some secret sinful behavior.  Several years ago a well-known pastor in another state stepped down after allegations emerged of his secret immoral behavior.  He first denied it, then admitted it, and then resigned his church in disgrace.  I quietly observed all of this and found myself struggling with a troubling question; why did God choose to so bless a ministry whose leader was living what amounted to a double life?

I confess this stuck in my mind, or as some might say, it stuck in my craw – whatever a craw is.  My thoughts on the situation often ran like this; “Lord, this man was doing unthinkable things, and yet he was preaching to thousands every Sunday.  Here I am living straight as an arrow.  I have always been absolutely faithful to my wife, and I am doing well to have 80 - 100 people show up on Sunday.  This isn’t fair!”  I have had to seek God’s forgiveness for my judgmental attitude.  The disgrace this pastor has endured, as well as his wife and family, has to have been extremely painful. 

I share all of this to illustrate how easily we can allow the behavior and actions of others to distract us from what God has called us to do.  God will work His will according to His plan and good purposes.  As followers of Christ, we are the vessels in jars of clay about which the Bible speaks in II Corinthians 4:7.  We can easily become so wrapped up in the faults and failings of others that we begin to overlook our own.  Why God chose to so bless a ministry whose leader was caught in a scandal is proof of the power of God to work through the most flawed human vessels.  The Word of God was again proven true where it promises that our sin will find us out (Numbers 32:23). 

As Jesus’ followers we are facing a crisis of disillusionment among believers who have left the faith and unbelievers who want nothing to do with us.  It is imperative we show a lost world that there are still followers of Christ who are living lives of sincerity and integrity.  Do not be distracted by the failings of others.  Rather than pointing fingers in judgment, we are better off seeking God in humility, lest we fall into sin ourselves.  Let us do as the Scripture teaches and “Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).  Keep your eyes on Christ today, and you will overcome and walk forward in victory.

God bless you today.