“God, forgive me for my judgments of others – how I think they must be unbelievers, or somehow weaker than I because they drink or smoke or raise Cain. If I would bother to strike up a holy conversation with others, I would really see the truth. Jesus said in the Lord’s Prayer ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,’ meaning in the same proportion to our willingness to forgive others. If we take this seriously, I think we would not be so cavalier with praying the prayer as if it were only words and not a request for mercy while holding on to unforgiveness.”
Our Sunday School teacher once spoke about spiritual arrogance – thinking more highly of ourselves than we should (Romans 12:3 NIV), thinking we have cornered the market on spirituality and that our church is better than others or our doctrine is more biblical. That is a good word for us all. I am as guilty as any for thinking I know what the heck I am talking about. God is gentle in His dealings with us, thankfully. For example, I always said that I knew hymns ministered to some people but not to me. One Sunday before class, one of the ladies had a DVD playing of a worship service at Billy Graham chapel at some university. The people were singing hymns, and lifting their hands and praising God and I started tearing up; it was amazing! And I heard the Lord say, “It’s not the words; it’s the attitude of the singers.” So, apparently hymns can minister to me also! Aren’t you glad God doesn’t slap you on the back of the head when you are wrong? I know I am! I don’t know everything; I just think I do.
The same principle applies to judging other believers or those I think are pagans compared to me. The real trouble is I forget where I came from and how far I still have to go. We don’t compare people to ourselves, but to God, who is the one who is holy, and all the rest of us are sinners and in the same spiritual boat. I don’t try to draw people into a conversation about the Lord. When I see others who say grace or mention God in conversation, I should attempt to strike up a conversation about spiritual things just as I do with others I know are believers. The Lord is my favorite topic of conversation, so why don’t I do better in being a witness wherever I go?
God, save me from myself and my spiritual pride. I don’t want to be a reason for the pagans to run down Your name; I want to talk about You as you prescribed in Deuteronomy 11:18-20:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates… (NIV)
Let me be a witness for you, O Lord!
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. Isaiah 43:10 (NIV)
And forgive me my debts as I forgive my debtors. Help me to be kind and gentle like Jesus so that His light might surround those who hear my words will be encouraged and uplifted.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
I ask You this in the mighty and precious name of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Amen!