BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
I don't know about you, but their are times in my life where I find myself being critical of others and other times I find myself being criticized by others. We all have been there and been on both sides of the fence at different times I am sure. I don't want to judge or be judged, I want to do better.
Most of us have baggage, issues, or struggles that we face daily. It makes it tougher when others add to that. How soon we forget what it feels like and we turn around and do to someone what we wouldn't want done to us. We treat others in a way we wouldn't want to be treated.
Now, nothing has happened to me directly today to cause me to write about this subject, but I was just thinking recently how many people come into our lives or into our churches that have struggles, issues, problems, or a past and we judge them, criticize them, or give them a hard time.
How many times have we wished in our lives people would have loved us first and asked questions later? How many times did we need an encouraging word or just to know someone was there and still cared and instead we got a cold shoulder, became someone's gossip, or had things said about us that weren't true? I know I have.
I want to become a better man and a better Christian. I want to welcome sinners, encourage the hurting, and help the weak and i've not always done that. I also know that I am human and there are going to be times in my life where I make mistakes, get in a rut, or struggle with an issue and I'm going to need a helping hand, a prayer partner, or understanding patience. I've not always gotten that from people in the past or given it either.
Life is a two-way street, we can't expect grace from God and not extend it to others. We can't want people to accept us with our past and not accept others with theirs. We can't expect people to welcome us without question, but we question others without knowing them, their situations, reasoning, and life.
I do not want to hide, cover up, or lie about my past and I do not want others to feel like they have to do the same. God knows everything, including US. I don't want to be judged, a topic for gossip, people in my business without permission, or treated unfairly and I do not want to be that way to others, regardless of their mistakes or ours or others perceived mistakes.
I've been there and done that, and I don't want to go back or do that to others anymore and I don't want people to do it to me. I don't wish my mistakes on anyone nor do I want to have to pay for them over and over and over. I wish I could change some things but at the same time I'm better because I persevered and endured them and didn't give up and I want to encourage others to do the same.
"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance."
II Thessalonians 3:5 (NIV)