The reading from My Utmost for today is one of those very convicting wakeup calls that jolts me into realization of some of my greatest defects. It puts the finger directly on areas of my life that have caused me the greatest problems and that are generational in nature. Here is the reading.
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2)
This statement is not a haphazard guess, it is an eternal law of God. Whatever judgment you give, it is measured to you again. There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus says that the basis of life is retribution—“with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” If you have been shrewd in finding out the defects in others, remember that will be exactly the measure given to you. Life serves back in the coin you pay. This law works from God’s throne downwards (cf. Psalm 18:25-26).
Romans 2 applies it in a still more definite way, and says that the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing. God looks not only at the act, He looks at the possibility. We do not believe the statements of the Bible to begin with. For instance, do we believe this statement, that the things we criticize in others we are guilty of ourselves? The reason we see hypocrisy and fraud and unreality in others is because they are all in our own hearts. The great characteristic of a saint is humility—‘Yes, all those things and other evils would have been manifested in me but for the grace of God; therefore I have no right to judge.’
Jesus says—“Judge not, that ye be not judged”; if you do judge, it will be measured to you exactly as you have judged. Who of us would dare to stand before God and say—‘My God, judge me as I have judged my fellow men’? We have judged our fellow men as sinners; if God should judge us like that we would be in hell. God judges us through the marvelous Atonement of Jesus Christ. (My Utmost for His Highest, June 22)
The last few days and weeks seem to be a conspiracy to expose more of my heart's selfishness. I struggle in my business to have the kind of influence that I had when I first started and I realize that to a great degree it is likely something inside of me that is causing a disconnect when I approach people and try to interest them. I feel exposed and frustrated because I know I need to come to others in humility, compassion, genuine selfless interest in their lives and their needs and to care more about them than about myself. I long to be that kind of person, but when I look at both the evidence outwardly and some of the compulsive motives inwardly I generally see very little of that in reality.
What I do see is a critical attitude, a thinly veiled craving to better my own life without a true desire to bless others unconditionally. I know that I resent it when others approach me with that spirit, and yet I can't seem to escape my fleshly desires that rise up behind the scenes and sabotage my efforts to really care about others as I know I should. I then see this principle, this immutable law of reality described in this reading having its effect in my life and I cry out to God to deliver me from this body of death.
I know that I could never dare to ask God to judge me as I have treated others at the heart level. Oh, I can do acts of kindness – but generally when my selfish heart thinks I might benefit back from them someday and for people that I am attracted to in some way. But those selfish motives undermine the very principles of what kindness is all about and I feel like I am a cheat and a hypocrite.
I know that all of this exposure is actually a sign of progress in an inverse sort of way. It is slowly bringing into view faults in my character that have been largely hidden from my own perception most of my life but that must be exposed if I am ever to become free of them. Awareness is one of the vital first steps toward genuine freedom and so when I become aware of some of my faults I realize that in reality God is giving me opportunities for freedom and to move into deeper reliance on and relationship with Him.
God, deliver me from this body of death and selfishness. Cleanse me of all resistance to Your transforming work in my heart. Draw me to Yourself even more intently and fill me with the assurance and peace and truth that my heart needs to thrive and to reflect Your beauty of character more accurately. Convert me more fully and deeply; let Your glory be seen in my life and my actions and particularly in my voice and face which have long been the greatest problems for me. Have Your way in me today. I trust in Your work and throw myself onto Your grace and mercy for that is my only hope.