“Whenever you believe that the evil outside you is greater than the evil inside you, a heartfelt pursuit of Christ will be replaced by a zealous fighting of the “evil” around you.” – How People Change p 10
Sin is like a disease that we’re all infected with. If it does not receive treatment, or the right treatment, it will kill in the end. And not only will it kill in the end, it will cause one human being to inflict damage on another human being through self-interest.
One of the permutations of the sin problem is that because of self-interest, it is easier to see problems in other people, even if the same problem exists in both people. I think that one explanation for this might be that a self-loathing exists for the problems that sin creates, and that sensitivity to particular problems makes identifying them in other people that much easier.
Jesus speaks to this sin problem:
Matthew 7:3-5 – “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? (5) Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Ultimately the solution to this hypocrisy, and the disease itself, comes from properly estimating the seriousness of the disease. If cancer is treated lightly, it will kill. Sin is similar. Our first priority should be fighting the invasion and effects of sin in our own lives. Fighting sin requires both the power of God and a great struggle on our part. Focusing our energies on our own problems keeps us from putting too much attention on the sins of others.
More than this, treating our own sin as the primary enemy to be fought helps us to appreciate the battle that is being fought in another person’s life. We can have sympathy with the other person’s struggle, or lack of struggle, and realize that the difference between them and us is (hopefully) that we are further along in applying the same cure in our own lives.
Approaching someone about the sin in their life becomes less about inflicting some sort of self-righteous indignation, and more of assisting them to apply the cure. We must be careful if we decide to do this, because the verses above suggest that if we have not dealt with the problem in our own life, we can inflict damage upon the other person, rather than be a benefit.
Don’t underestimate sin and your own desire for it. Pursue the cure, overcome your own faults, and then assist others to find and apply the cure.
Please comment and leave your thoughts.