We entered the doors of church a little later than usual. We made our way to a pew that could barely fit four of us. The boys sandwiched themselves between us and quickly got to work on their sermon notes activity sheet. Every few minutes Zachary would whisper something to Jacob. After a few times, I noticed Jacob becoming very snappish with his brother who adores him. His head turned sharply towards me as he hissed, “Mom, his breath is treacherous. It’s driving me crazy.” The look on his face told me he was not kidding.
Initially I chuckled, thinking how funny his statement sounded. Then I noticed how visibly upset Jacob was over the smell of his brother’s breath.
“Stop talking to me. Your breath stinks!” Jacob snarled to Zachary, who just looked at me with raised eyebrows and a sheepish little grin that seemed to say, “What? I’m…..sorry…”
Jacob turned away from Zachary and faced directly towards me as he made his final comment about the state of Zachary’s breath, to which I replied to Jacob, “Your breath smells equally as bad. Leave him alone.”
“So what, Zachary’s is worse.”
Jacob was seething, overly agitated, and lacked all forms of mercy, grace, and compassion. I’ve been there. Have you?
Oh what a picture. What a picture of our humanness. A picture of myself. A picture of each of us if we are truly honest with ourselves. How often are we so focused on the sins and wrongs of others that we fail to see our own sins, our own shortcomings? How often are we so focused on how bad someone else’s “issue” is that we unknowingly cultivate a garden of anger, resentment, pride, and self-righteousness in our own hearts?
Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
We are all sinners. Jesus didn’t die because we are naturally good. No! We are sinners. In need of saving. None of us has minty fresh breath all the time.
Thank God for grace.
Imagine the richness of our experiences in life if we removed our own planks before focusing on the specks of others? Imagine how we could see God in a completely new way. Imagine how our relationships with each other and our walks with God would grow if we could do this.
In our own power, it’s impossible. We can’t do it.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
I am weak. I am in constant need of His power resting on me.