August 15, 2010
(Jesus said) "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." Matthew 7:5
Those who know me are conscious of my many shortcomings.
None of those shortcomings -- at least to hear the groans of those around me -- are worse than the stories I tell. I know it's not fashionable to tell husband-wife stories anymore, but here's one which comes from a little, old lady from one of our Lutheran parishes.
It comes from a time when it was customary for families to visit with the pastor on Saturday before they went to Communion on Sunday. It was during such a meeting that a wife said, "Pastor, we are living in a wicked land where sin is on every hand. I have had a terrible fight with the old devil all week long."
That's when her heretofore silent husband, stirred himself and said, "She can call me the old devil if she wants, but it's not all my fault either. She's tough to get along with, too."
Do I hear anybody groaning?
At any rate, I would like to ask you this: Is it possible you've been having a tough time getting along with the old devil in your life? Most of us do. His temptations, his tailor-made urgings to sin can be pretty hard to resist.
Here's a second question. We know the devil is hard to get along with, but how about you? Is it possible you're a bit of a devil, a person who is difficult to befriend? It's mighty easy to point out the sins and shortcomings of others. Often, however, it's a lot harder to see our shortcomings.
Sometimes it's proper for us to take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves. If we do, we might be surprised by what we see.
When you look, do you see yourself sporting a small set of horns or a little bit of a tail? Well, probably not. But if, when you look in a mirror you see a serious sinner, then be thankful. Not that you're a sinner, but that in Jesus you have a Savior.
In Jesus we have been given forgiveness for our sins and our shortcomings. In Jesus we have been given hope, happiness, and heaven.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the world is filled with sinners, and I am one of them. Even as I repent of what I have done wrong, may I rejoice in the forgiveness that Jesus' sacrifice has given me. In His Name, I give thanks. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries