My pastor’s sermon was especially impacting to me yesterday. One thing in particular stood out to me: Christians should be some of the most humble, broken, and tenderhearted people because we know our sin and how God has delivered us from it. That thought convicted me as I took note of how quick I am to critique those around me. “If I was her, I wouldn’t be doing that,” or “why would he say something like that?” or “whew! I am glad I didn’t make that choice,” or “she should really make this change in her life,” etc. The ironic thing is that when my mind is filled with thoughts about others I am not working on myself.
That’s just it! Keeping myself on track is time-consuming enough! Even just a few moments reading my Bible shines the spotlight on all that should be on my to-do list: abiding in Christ, praying without ceasing, loving my enemies, blessing those who curse me, forgiving, serving, repenting, sowing the gospel seed, just to name a few. And that doesn’t include those areas in my life where the fruit is puny, if even there at all, such as patience and gentleness! Minding my own log-cutting business is work enough; I don’t need to add searching for dust specks in others’ lives to my day as well (see Matthew 7:5).
We often feel like silence is approval and if we see someone making, in our opinion, a mistake we feel like something should be said. But I am starting to wonder if more positive impact could be made by simply living my own life well through surrendered obedience to Christ. If I speak when He prompts me to speak, change when He calls me to change, and repent when He convicts, then my life will become a beacon of His love and truth to everyone I meet. If I genuinely love people then I need to spend more time building up and cheering on those lives that intersect with mine than I do pointing out where I think they could improve. I believe quiet observation of how others live inspires more lasting change than speaking does. I pray my life is one worth observing.
Disclaimer: I must add that if I see someone close to me making destructive choices or nurturing habits that are clearly harmful to self or others, I will speak up.