Life is filled with decisions. One of those decisions is whether we will notice our own faults more than those of others. The quality of our life is determined by where we focus our energy. Do we spend our days focused upon correcting our personal faults or do we focus on those of others? The value of one's personal life depends upon answering this question correctly.

Sin is a destructive force. Paul tells us that its wages are death (Romans 6:23). Who cannot see the debris of wrecked human lives scattered about because of the sins of this world? It is into this environment that we arise every day. Is it any wonder that we feel vulnerable to sin's allurement? Thus we feel the likelihood of being hurt, which, in turn causes us to become preoccupied with problem solving and error-correcting. Deep down we know that we cannot eliminate sin. It is impossible because rocks and trees do not sin, people sin. The only way to eliminate sin would be to eliminate people. The only alternative left is to protect ourselves to whatever extent is possible.

We believe we are most vulnerable at the hands of others. However, it is here that we go astray. It is here that we show ourselves to be unwise. There is something that is just as sure as the sun rising in the East. The thing of which we speak is that Christians will be persecuted. "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). We do not like to think of it, but others are going to hurt us. They will do us wrong; that is the nature of sin and the world it has cursed.

There is something we must remember. Whatever may be the hurt or pain suffered at another's thoughtless sin it does not compare with the damage we do to ourselves by our own sins! We are most vulnerable to each proclaiming his own goodness (Proverbs 20:6).

When we truly consider the flaws in our own character, isn't it astonishing how offhandedly we deal with our personal sins while trying to 'help' other people over come theirs? Jesus made a comment that would be comical if it were not so serious. Hear what He says, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).

On another occasion, Jesus used a similar illustration to further show how men can over look their personal sin but emphasize other men's sins calling them "Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel" (Matthew 23:24)! We make ourselves of no effect in the kingdom of our Lord by becoming ludicrous blind guides.

What is the answer? Focus upon your own faults. Correct them then reach out to influence others by example.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23,24).

By Glen Young

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