"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30: Forgivingly Restore


NOTE TO SELF: It was revealed to me yesterday during my time alone with God (TAG) that I have a “critical spirit.” (Ugh!) Yep, it’s true. I often find myself criticizing my neighbors, or strangers in the store, or even my own family. God tells us to be gentle with those who have fallen away from Him; to “forgivingly restore” them. What does that even mean? We don’t harp on other’s downfalls or faults, but instead help them up on their feet and encourage them to get back up. We don’t judge, we don’t criticize, we don’t push them further down. We help in restoring them, bringing them back home. Too many times we instead call out their flaws.

My mother criticized me my whole life, and I suffered greatly because of it. She never really noticed the good stuff about who I am, but instead focused on nearly ALL of my faults. She held onto so many of my past mistakes, constantly reminding me of what a failure I was. My life, and our relationship, could have been a whole lot better had she just “saved her critical comments for herself,” and not dwelled on my apparent endless failures. But now I find myself following those same patterns, and thankfully God has shown me the errors of my way.

Jesus Himself said, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own” (Matthew 7:1-3 MSG).

Today’s Note to Self is twofold: stop being critical; and forgivingly restore those who have fallen into sin.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help us to keep our snide remarks to ourselves. Help us instead to speak life, love, and peace to, and about, others…to forgivingly restore them. Break this critical spirit that harms people we love, and insults those we don’t know. Help us to think before we speak, saving our critical comments to ourselves. Amen.

JOURNAL: Write about ways you may not have been aware of until today that you have been critical to others. Reread what you wrote and journal how you would feel if someone said or did those things to you. Write a vow to keep your critical comments to yourself.

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