“It is infinitely easier to point out the flaws and shortcomings of others than it is to take ownership of our own guilt and culpability.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 7, 2022
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8, ESV
For several years in a row, we have endured wave after wave of trial and tribulation, from global pandemics to global wars, not to mention the relational pain and internal strife that each of us must navigate, day in and day out. At times the weight of it all can simply feel like more than anyone can possibly bear, with anger, grief, helplessness, and confusion intermingling in our hearts and minds. Clarity on how to move forward as people of hope is often elusive and seemingly impossible. How do we live faithful lives in times such as these?
James offers us timeless wisdom that points us to the way of truth that transcends time or culture. To live is to struggle, yet to live is to also daily decide how you will navigate the challenges of this life. In seasons of peaceful purpose or chaotic confusion, the invitation is the same: draw near to God.
The closer we are to God, the more clarity we gain around our true identities and deepest motivations. To draw near to God requires that we at the same time “cleanse our hands” and “purify our hearts.” In the presence of his glory we see our sickness is sharp relief. We are reminded of our capacity for self-deception and blindness to our need for restoration and peace.
It is infinitely easier to point out the flaws and shortcomings of others than it is to take ownership of our own guilt and culpability. When looking out on the problems of the world, it is a daily temptation to point a finger–at governments, corporations, politicians, friends, spouses, children–without taking the time to notice the three fingers pointing right back at me. Where are my hands dirty? In what ways have I failed to love my neighbor as I love myself? When have I allowed hatred, jealousy, or bitterness towards another person to grow unchecked in the depths of my heart?
As each of us longs to see the kingdom of God revealed in our world and in our relationships, let us be slow to assume and quick to repent. May we see our own faults and not judge our brothers and sisters. And most of all, draw near to God every day, trusting and believing that he will draw near to you.
Father, rather than fretting or judging, let our hearts be filled with gratitude for your mercy and an unshakable longing to be in your presence, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be attentive throughout your day to the moments you are quick to judge or assume the motives of others.
Isaiah 1:16; Jeremiah 4:14; Zechariah 1:3
Kathryn Scott: Revelation Song
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