Judge Yourself First
Of particular interest in this letter is your own sin and how you see it. Us humans have a propensity to give ourselves a pass when it comes to our own sin, a pass that we are not so willing to give to others. My mind does not see a particular thing that I’m guilty of in the same light as it sees others who are guilty of the same thing. But I’ve been in transition concerning this truth for a long time and I’ve come to the conclusion that seeing my own sin rightly involves three separate out-workings that need to take place.
First, we live in a world that is self-oriented. What I mean by this is that Man tends to appeal to his own inner-self as a reference point from which all things are to be measured. If I like something, for example, it is good. If something repulses me, it is bad. With a mindset like this, you can see how my perception of my own sin would be skewed. The scriptures speak to this mindset by the way. It refers to it as “living according to the flesh,” or “being a law unto ourselves.”
I would advise you to read all of Roman’s one and two. Paul goes into considerable detail in chapter 1 inventorying the sins that “they” commit. But pay close attention to chapter two. Notice that he stops directing his words to “them,” and instead directs them to “you.” No matter how harshly we judge “their” sin, you need to understand that it’s not nearly as harshly as God judges them, for He is Holy, and we are not. So we ought to judge our own sins in the same light, and in the same way. Seeing the sin of others gives us some perspective. We can begin to get an objective view of how our own sin looks from the outside, and we ought to become adept at seeing our own sin as more repulsive to us than the sins of others. This will have the effect of keeping us humble and growing us up in Christ, as we ought to be. It’s what Jesus meant, I think, when he instructed us to first remove the log from our own eye.
Second, be ready to walk alongside any who desire to repent as you allow others to walk alongside you as you repent. Help the brother in sin if he desires it. Do not fear being rebuked by a brother, for it is a loving thing for him to do if he does it rightly. Do not reject a rebuke from your brother, for if he does not rebuke you when he ought to, he’s not following the great command of loving you. I would suggest you never accuse anyone of judging you, but rather I’d just as soon that you judge yourself. If you feel someone else is judging you, then let the light of their judgments either vindicate or convict you.
Also, when you witness the sins of those outside of the Body of Christ, realize that they cannot not sin. Don’t get angry at the individual, but rather have compassion. His only hope of ever seeing himself in the hands of an angry God is through the Gospel. Clothe yourself, therefore, in the Gospel of Jesus, which calls sinners to repentance of sin and into the glorious light. Have grace for the failures of others just as you need grace for your own.
Third, Western Civilization is in decline and becoming darker. It is, therefore, tempting for one to see himself more highly than he ought to. You may be tempted, having been cleaned up a little, to compare yourselves to others and then think of yourselves wrongly. The renewing of the mind, however, ought to take us in a different direction and instead focus our sights on Jesus, who is holy and righteous. When we then see our own sin in the light of His holiness, grace becomes an amazing thing. Our view of grace is proportional to our view of sin, so see your sin in the proper light so that you will live with a proper attitude of thanksgiving and with compassion for your lost countrymen.
I pray for you, that you would become warriors with the accouterments of the warrior. I pray that you would wield God’s Word with precision, and that God’s armor would protect you as you advance His Kingdom. I pray that you would grow stronger by casting off every sin, and by seeing it in the true light that you ought to. I pray for you, I, your father, pray for you that these things will mark you.