"The way we see other people is usually the way we see ourselves.
If we have made peace with our flawed humanity and embrace our ragamuffin identity,
we are able to tolerate in others what was previously unacceptable in ourselves."
I read this convicting sentence the other day from Brennan Manning.
It keeps playing back and forth, back and forth in my head.
Different scenarios began playing through my head of times when I've caught myself judging other people.
Other people God has created in His own image.
Other adopted children of Christ.
It's so easy to see other people's flaws and thank God that we aren't the one with that lifestyle, or that addiction, or that reaction or that way of thinking...
(Sound familiar? Luke 18:9-14)
But are those things really any different than my own sins that I deal with? Have I really owned up to my own flaws and sins that grieve the Holy Spirit, that keep me from crawling into Abba's lap and spending vulnerable, heart and soul-changing time with Him?
Sure, every sin has different consequences and affects different people, but Romans 5 tells us that even a simple THOUGHT of a sinful act is sin!
Billy Graham defines sin as "any thought or action that falls short of God's will."
So if my sin of being short-tempered with my 9-year-old, or sarcastic or demeaning to my 6-year-old is just as sinful (falling short of God's will) as the drug addict down the street, then we are equal sinners.
If my tendency for impulsivity overcomes me and turns into sin, and is the same as the individual who has an addiction to porn or lust, then we are equal sinners.
When my lack of self-control over food (yes, if it's around I can hardly hold myself back!) becomes an idol and gluttonous it is the same sin as the individuals who are addicted to over-exercise and obsession over body image.
And if we are equal sinners (both just as far apart from Christ as the other), it takes the same amount of grace and love to bring us back to His presence.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
I know for me, if I remember who I am, and what God has sacrificed for ME, and the grace and patience he floods me with on a
daily hourly basis, I am more likely to give grace when someone sins against me. They don't deserve that forgiveness. They don't deserve that second chance...or that third chance, or that fourth chance...
...but neither do I.
(BTW-forgiveness doesn't make their sin ok. It doesn't make MY sin okay. But it does make the forgivers heart ok.)
I don't EVER want God's grace and lavished love to ever become stagnant in my life. Because that is when my love and forgiveness and grace (and compassion) for others ends. And that, my friend, is sin, that will once again separate me from the one who lavishes it on me.
"Then Peter came up and said to him,
'Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?'
Jesus said to him,
'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.'"
This is a command.
It does not change with different seasons and circumstances that we face.
If you believe that God's word is ALL TRUTH, then it does not change.
It is what it is.
It is WHO God is.
And if we call ourselves followers of Him, then it HAS TO BE who WE are.