Monday, February 23, 2015

Silence is Golden

Matthew 7:1-5 (TLB) ~

“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own? Should you say, ‘Friend, let me help you get that speck out of your eye,’ when you can’t even see because of the board in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can see to help your brother.

I have read this passage a thousand times and I always nod and say, "Yes, these are good words."  "People shouldn't judge."  Or to make it more personal, "I shouldn't judge."  Yet, it seems I do that quite a bit more than I think I do.

Yesterday, I got my nose knocked out of joint and came home to lick my wounds.  It all started because I made a truthful observation but my timing was terrible and it was not received well.  I didn't think I was being judgmental, but as I've been mulling over this, the Holy Spirit has been nudging me.  One of the ways He did that was through the wise words of my husband. 

As I poured out my frustration to him, Dan asked me, "Why did you have to say anything?"  "Why can't you just make sure you have the right attitude and not worry about anyone else?"  OUCH!  And yes, then I was annoyed at him but as I thought about it, I realized he was right. 

The only person I am responsible for is me.  The only one the Lord asks me to change is me.  The only one I will have to answer for when I stand before Him one day is me.  It's up to the Lord to convict and change others and unless they specifically ask me for help or advice, I should keep my thoughts to myself.  My only "job" in the church is to make sure I am hearing from the Lord and have the right attitude.  It's not up to me to be the Holy Spirit to others.

I truly want to honor the Lord and yet, even when I think I'm doing the right thing, I often make a mess.  And it's because I make judgments and criticisms all the time.  I point the finger.  I take more time mulling over the speck in someone else's eye when I should be taking care of the log in my eye.  I am a Pharisee.

I asked for forgiveness but the damage was done.  And the Holy Spirit woke me up in the middle of the night so I could wrestle with these things.  I'm broken and feeling contrite.  I'm praying that my lesson is learned.  I'm moving forward and hoping forgiveness is extended.  But I've learned something else.

Silence really can be golden.