And once we start to justify our "little errs" by comparing our behavior to others we are really on a slippery slope. For one thing, we really have no idea how our "capacity" to "temptation" ratio affects us. I mean, I hate to get up in the morning, but I do not struggle with depression and would never compare my little challenge with the journey of depression. But we are tempted to rant and rave about the "unpopular sins" of others, using energy and attention needed to deal with own "white collar" sins and our own brokenness.
I remember someone (call her Louise to protect the innocent) ranting about the horrid sinfulness of a family member engaged in dangerous and heart-breaking sexual behavior and I asked, "When was the last time you were tempted to behave like that?" The answer was a huffy, "Why never!" Then I said, "Maybe it is unfair to make hasty judgement regarding temptations with which we do not wrestle, and instead work on our own challenges." I wish now I had been wise enough to add, "Maybe praying for that person would be more helpful to everyone." I am quite certain Louise assumed I was haunting the local lover's lane's with every Tom, Dick and Harry since I did not applaud her rant!
But here is the deal. Because I knew Louise intimately I was too aware of how much a little introspection was needed. Still today I see the lingering bruises caused by her self-righteousness attitude --injuries that haunt many years after her death. And I got to see up close how damaging this persistent attitude was to Louise's own peace of mind and relationships.
It is hard when we see someone we love struggling with bad choices. But often when we try to suggest alternative behaviors, the person we love gets so busy defending the indefensible they refuse to consider the possible changes.
But when we work on our own journey, live victoriously, offer mercy, and embrace grace, we speak much more powerfully. It may not invoke the changes we long to see, but that is really between our loved one and God. God really has this all under His loving control. And He longs to enjoy our full attention.
* Ecclesiastics 7:29