Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: Matthew 7:1-6
Key Verse: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3
Over the years, I’ve faced many trials and tribulations, which I’ve often blamed on the actions of others. Over and over I have thought to myself, If only he or she would change. Or, If they would just do things differently, we wouldn’t be in this difficult situation.
It’s so easy to point the finger at others and ignore your own character defects and struggles. After all, if we compare ourselves to others, we are usually not doing that bad, at least not from our own biased perspective.
However, in time I’ve begun to recognize that many of my problems are not all the fault of others. In fact, maybe I’ve been part of the problem. Maybe I’ve been filled with pride, anger, and unforgiveness. Maybe the way I’ve spoken hasn’t always been in love. Maybe I’ve been the hypocrite, ignoring the “beam” in my own eye! I’ve been praying for others to change, but maybe God must change me first.
It’s been a difficult journey, but as I’ve grown closer to Jesus, I’ve recognized that I have more sins and shortcomings than I ever thought possible. As I ask God to give me a new heart, my attitude toward others and perspectives about life have slowly changed. Rather than criticizing and condemning those that I don’t agree with, I’ve begun to pray for them. Rather than back-biting and judging, I’ve asked God to teach me how to love.
Ellen White writes, “The work of judging his brother has not been placed upon any man. ‘Judge not,’ the Saviour says, ‘that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ He who takes upon himself the work of judging and criticizing others, lays himself open to the same degree of judgment and criticism. Those who are ready to condemn their brethren, would do well to examine their own works and character. Such an examination, honestly made, will reveal the fact that they, too, have defects of character, and have made grave blunders in their work. If the great Judge should deal with men as they deal with their fellow workers, they would regard him as unkind and unmerciful” (Christian Leadership, p. 59).
On the other hand, “When those to whom God has entrusted responsibilities as leaders fear and tremble before Him because of the responsibility of the work, when they feel their own unworthiness and seek the Lord in humility, when they purify themselves from all that is displeasing to Him, when they plead with Him until they know that they have forgiveness and peace, then God will manifest Himself through them. Then the work will go forward with power” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 50, 51).
So rather than focusing on the weaknesses and defects of others, let’s ask God to remove the “beams” in our own eyes. Let’s ask Him to change our hearts. Only then can His work go forward with power!
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Gracious Father, as we continue praying for Your Church, we ask that You would do a deeper work in each of our hearts. It’s easy to criticize each other and even our leaders, especially when they don’t think and act as we believe they should. But instead of back-biting and pointing fingers, we ask that You’d shine the spotlight in our own hearts. Show us where we have allowed sins to separate us from You. Show us where we have failed. And then change us so we can move forward in Your power and strength, sharing Your love with the world. We humble our hearts before Your throne today. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
[IMPORTANT NOTE: We encourage you to prayerful take some time to read “Removing the Breaches: Heart Evaluation” document. You can view or download by clicking here.]