A title like this gets those who don’t like you to think that it’s about time you came clean, and it gets those who do like you to think that perhaps you only have one problem. Well, I hope there are more folks in the latter category but even then I must admit that I have many problems (somewhere someone is saying a loud and exuberant amen). There is one however that, spiritually speaking, may very well be my biggest challenge. As I share it with you, I ask you to consider if it is your problem too.
I like to study the bible and I like to read classic writings from the saints of old. I like to listen to Christian talk radio and I like to stream sermons online. I like to use E-Sword and I like to browse the Internet for Christian news, ministries, resources and tools. I am especially drawn to those things that point out the historic Christian faith, the normal Christian life, and then I can see the sometimes glaring differences between the way things are and the way things ought to be. And so far so good because the bible does tell us to study to show ourselves approved, to test all things and hold fast to that which is good, etc.
So what’s the problem you may ask? The problem is simply this. Instead of taking these truths and applying them to my own life and making the changes I need to make—the way I’m living, the things I’m doing or not doing, my attitudes and mindsets, etc.—I use it to point out the flaws of everyone else. That’s right. Instead of quietly going about setting my own house in order, I use all this great revelation, all this fruit of serious study, to point the finger at my neighbor—and at my wife, my kids and my dog (okay, I don’t have a dog but you get the point).
Christ tells us that instead of worrying about the speck in our brother’s eye, we need to take the beam out of our own eye (Matthew 7:5). I need to learn that lesson. Remember when Paul told a group of people that they should examine themselves to see whether or not they were in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)? He did that in part because some people at Corinth were questioning whether or not he was legit. And so Paul in essence told them the same thing. Let me paraphrase, “Stop being so concerned about me; instead, be concerned about your own self.”
This is my problem. I’ve explained it as clearly as I know how. When we study and learn and try to grow (which we should) we must understand that the revelations we are given, the fruits of our labor, are meant to be applied to our own lives first, to help us be more like Christ. And isn’t that the way it should be? God shows me what’s wrong with me, and He shows you what’s wrong with you. There is way too much finger-pointing going on in the Body of Christ. Entire “ministries” are built on it. But I’m getting out of that business. Perhaps I’ll take all those beams that are in my eye and start a lumber mill instead.