DEAL WITH YOUR SINS FIRST, NOT OTHERS’ SINS

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

DECEMBER 18, 2023

TOPIC: DEAL WITH YOUR SINS FIRST, NOT OTHERS’ SINS

BY T. O. BANSO

“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 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? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5 New King James Version). 

There is a tendency for some people to focus on the failures in the lives of people who are not accountable to them rather than face the failures in their lives. I’m not talking about not being concerned about people’s problems or spiritual well-being. I’m not advocating living a self-centred life. After all, Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (New Living Translation). The New King James Version puts it this way: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

I am not contradicting this scripture. Rather, I’m talking about the need for each person to deal with what is wrong in his/her life instead of trying to police other people’s lives or expose, or even amplify, what is wrong in their lives.

Some people are quick to point out the weaknesses/failures in others and discuss their mistakes or sins. Such people do not realize that publicizing or exposing what is wrong in others will never make right the things that are wrong in their lives, at least before God. It does seem that some people are more informed about other people’s lives than their lives!

Nobody is perfect. Everybody has issues in his/her life. If someone is not directly accountable or related to you, you should not be giving the impression that you’re monitoring his/her life to ensure compliance with God’s standards or the standards you may have set. Why should people’s lives be the subject of others’ discussion nearly every time while neglecting the issues in their lives? They’ve assigned to themselves a job that’s not theirs! I’m talking about not having a holier-than-thou or self-righteous attitude.

Often, many people are guilty of what they are quick to point out in others. You don’t have a right to judge others without first judging yourself; otherwise, you’re a hypocrite, an insincere person. Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7:1-2 New King James Version). 

The Amplified Bible says it like this: Do not judge and criticize and condemn [others unfairly with an attitude of self-righteous superiority as though assuming the office of a judge], so that you will not be judged [unfairly]. For just as you [hypocritically] judge others [when you are sinful and unrepentant], so will you be judged; and in accordance with your standard of measure [used to pass out judgment], judgment will be measured to you.

Jesus continued: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 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? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5 New King James Version). 

The plank in your eye is bigger than the speck in the eye of the other person, and you cannot see well with the plank in your eye. Help yourself first by removing the plank in your eye. Then, you will be able to help the other person with a speck in his eye. Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite.

Don’t be too eager to discuss other people, especially when it’s about something negative. Look at yourself first. You may be guilty of the same sin or offence. Be concerned about your life. Don’t be busy discussing other people’s sins, failures, etc. when you can’t claim to have gained victory in the same areas in your life. You have your struggles.

Jesus told those who brought to Him the woman caught in adultery, seeking to stone her to death according to Moses’ law, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7 New King James Version). 

Her accusers left one by one. They couldn’t pick up the challenge Jesus threw at them. Instead of wasting their efforts monitoring her life, they should have been concerned about their sexual immorality; they should have purged themselves of their adultery. They made themselves the keepers of others’ vineyards, but they have not kept their vineyards!

Don’t go far to look for someone to judge. There is someone nearer to judge: you. Judge or examine yourself (1 Corinthians 11:31). Don’t waste your energy on others. Deal with your sins. Cry to God to save you. Seek the assistance of fellow believers to live in victory over your sins.

Don’t compare yourself with anyone saying, “At least I’m not as bad as …” or “My sins are not as many as that of…” A sin is a sin. No sin should be ignored. The ‘smallest’ sin will take anyone to hell. Instead of discussing others’ sins, face your life. Cry to God for deliverance.

When people discuss someone’s sins with you, if he/she is not accountable to you, it is not your job to judge the person. Let those whose responsibility it is do it. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (New International Version).

Be concerned about yourself. When Peter tried to find out from Jesus how another disciple whom Jesus loved would die, Jesus told Peter to mind his business and follow Him. Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, ‘Lord, who is the one who betrays You?’ Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me’” (John 21:20-22 New King James Version).

Paul warned believers not to go around interfering in or meddling in other people’s affairs, but to settle down, get to work, and earn their living (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12). Also, Peter warned against prying into other people’s affairs – a believer should not suffer as a meddler (1 Peter 4:15).

You should not be self-centred but you should also not gossip about others. Don’t be a hypocrite, who is as guilty as others whose sins or failures he/she is discussing, neglecting his/hers. Don’t overlook your sins and focus on the sins of others. Don’t go outside to fight a fire! Fight the fire in your house, the fire devouring your life. Don’t gossip about others’ sins; pray for them. If you’re in a position to restore them, do it gently and with love, not arrogantly. “Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation]” (1 Corinthians 10:12 The Amplified Bible). Deal with your sins first; not others’ sins.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Father, deliver me from hypocrisy; help me to deal with the sins in my life. In the name of Jesus, I shall not gossip about others while neglecting the issues in my life. Holy Spirit, help me to pray for others instead of judging them.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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