Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 15 : Judge Not | Day 104

Begin a Reformation!

The wife glared at her husband as I sat down at the table with them. She started right in: "I do not even like to look at this man!" He had confessed to her some past problems with lust, and she was irate. Nothing he said could appease her. While her deep disappointment was certainly understandable, her shock did not take into account the frailty of human nature and the fact that we are all prone to sin.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).

After listening to a few more painful minutes' worth of verbal assaults, I said to the wife, "There is no doubt that you have been hurt by your husband's moral failures. However, could it be that your response to these deep hurts has actually fallen into the category of bitterness and unforgiveness?" She acknowledged her bitterness and said that she had tried to forgive her husband many times, but it was just too hard.

It was then that I saw a parable of Jesus from a new perspective. In Matthew 18, the king called in his servant who owed him the equivalent of 15–20 years' wages. There was no way the servant could have ever paid that debt, and yet he said to the king, "Please give me time, and I will pay it all back." The king had mercy on him and forgave the entire debt. Then the servant found a fellow servant who owed him a comparatively small amount and demanded that the debt be paid. When the fellow servant asked for time to pay it back, he was refused and thrown into prison.

The actions of the unforgiving servant reveal his lack of gratefulness to the one who forgave him and released him from his huge debt.

I said to the wife, "In your mind, your husband's sin of lust is far greater than your sins of bitterness and unforgiveness." Then I explained that she would never be able to forgive her husband for his sins until she recognized the magnitude of her own sins against God and the great mercy that He had shown her. When she asked how she could do this, I said, "Focus on the excruciating pain and death of the Lord Jesus Christ and realize the fact that we are responsible for His death. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed’ ” (Isaiah 53:5).

Judging one another is a result of diminishing the seriousness of our own sins and magnifying the seriousness of the sins of others. A reformation begins when we understand the horrendous wickedness of our own sins in the presence of a holy and righteous God. Then we can say, “We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments ... . O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God” (Daniel 9:5, 19). The next time we struggle to forgive another person, let's remember the incredible debt of sin that we have been forgiven!

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged ...” (Matthew 7:1-2).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard