In Part 1, I talked about the business of ‘accepting the faults of other people’. And the book by John Ortberg I recommended Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them—a fascinating book.
Someone said, When God saw you it was love at first sight. That’s true. God loves you—therefore you can afford to love others. God loves you in spite of the fact that you don’t always do and say the right things. And you can love others in spite of the fact that they don’t always do and say the right thing. Romans 14:13 (The Message) says:
Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is.
Don’t make someone’s life more difficult than it already is. Life can be tough. And you know, we don’t always need to hear someone say to us, Life is tough—so you’ve got to be tougher. Sometimes we may need that but most of the time we need someone to say: Life is tough so I’m going to be your friend. I’m going to help you carry your burdens. I’m not going to make your life more difficult, I’m not going to nitpick at your faults and mistakes.
Everybody has his or her peculiarities and eccentricities. You don’t have to resent them for it. If you hold resentment in your heart at the oddities of others or because they didn’t do what you wanted them to do or act how you wanted them to act, your life will become intolerable.
Be careful with your criticism—I am reminded of a funny story I read on the internet:
A man wanted to impress his friends with his eye for art as they went to an art gallery together. He forgot his glasses, was nearsighted, and could hardly see his hand in front of his face. But he figured he would wing it with any abstract comments and observations he wanted to make. So he approached a frame and began criticising: “Why would anyone want to paint something so hideously ugly? I mean, it’s a true rendering of the object, but why waste time painting such a disgusting subject?” Everyone was laughing by this time as his wife whispered into his ear, “John, it’s a mirror!”
Be careful with your criticisms
His carelessness in the criticism of others eventually caught up with him and our carelessness in the criticism of others will eventually catch up with us, too! It is a wise thing to be careful with your criticism of others and to refrain from standing in judgement of others. For Dale Carnegie, a famous American lecturer, writes:
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving!
That’s a powerful statement and perceptive observation about human behaviour. However, I have another version of Carnegie’s words: Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain, but it takes having the character of Christ at work within us for us to be understanding and forgiving instead of standing in judgement of another person!
Reminds me that Romans 15:7 (CEV) says, “Honor God by accepting each other, as Christ has accepted you.” Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you will have no time to love them.” And that’s a good statement. It’s about looking beyond the faults and mistakes of others. God is the judge, and he alone knows all the facts. Let’s leave it to him.
It was Alexander Pope, the English poet, who wrote the words:
Teach me to feel another’s woe,
to hide the fault I see.
That mercy to others show,
That mercy, show to me.
Show love and understanding to others
It is similar to the Bible’s words: “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you; so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13 – NLT). Why don’t we use our energy fixing up our own faults instead?—like the psalmist who prayed, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12 – NLT).
Mahatma Gandhi said: “I can truthfully say that I am slow to see the blemishes of fellow beings, being myself full of them. And, therefore, being in need of their charity, I have learnt not to judge anyone harshly and to make allowances for defects that I may detect.” What he was saying is this: we are not responsible for the actions of others. I am responsible for my own behaviour and standards, and one day I will stand before God in judgement (Romans 14:12).
I can’t blame anyone else for my wrongdoing. It’s difficult to see our own shortcomings and so much easier to see everyone else’s. Too often we want to know and see what everyone else is up to rather than taking a good hard look into the mirror. And even when we do look into the mirror a lot of times we have excuses:
- I tried.
- It was my parents’ fault.
- I didn’t have a choice.
- My friends made me.
- I didn’t know what I was doing.
It’s far better to seek God’s wisdom and help each day to live for him, showing love and understanding to others, especially those you have difficulties with.