“First take the log out of your own eye” (Matthew 7:5).
Christian love is not blind. God never says, “Ignore the faults of others.” But He does say, “Take care of your own faults first.” Look in the mirror! Ask God to show you your sins.
The familiar words of Psalm 139:23-24 come to mind: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” If we would pray that way and mean it, we would do a lot more confessing and a lot less judging.
Judging others and allowing conflict to build causes us to hold grudges. Hurts get bigger and bigger and so do problems. But God is a God of reconciliation. As Christians we are called to live in harmony.
Confession is a powerful tool for reconciliation. Often the way we handle a conflict creates a bigger hurt than the original problem itself. But when you begin by humbly admitting your mistakes, it defuses the other person’s anger and disarms their attack because they were probably expecting you to be defensive. Don’t make excuses or shift the blame; just be honest and own up to any part you have played in the conflict. Accept responsibility for your mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
With true reconciliation there is a healing that comes at the vertical level with God as well as the horizontal level when we confess our sins to and ask for forgiveness from others.
- We want the air cleared with us and God. We say, “God, I’ve sinned. I’m sorry. Jesus died for my sins and I need His forgiveness.” God forgives freely and we enjoy fresh fellowship and forgiveness. (1 John 1, Psalm 66)
- And we want this horizontal relationship to be clear and open too. So much pain comes into life, and even physical illness, as the result of keeping our sins inside us. (Psalm 32)
The Mayo Clinic did a study on Forgiveness and here’s what they found
- Healthier relationships.
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being.
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Fewer symptoms of depression.
- Stronger immune system.
- Improved heart health.
- Higher self-esteem.
Since God forgives us, we are called to forgive others. (Ephesians 4)
Our goal as Christians is to mirror Jesus. So look in the mirror and if you don’t like what you see, ask Jesus to help you change. After all, he promises us, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
God, I want to be more like You. Help me to judge less and worry more about removing the log in my own eye. Help me to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as You have forgiven me.