(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
I have a lot of sins.
None of those sins is worse -- at least to hear the groans of those around me -- than some of the really bad stories I tell.
Although it's not fashionable to tell husband-wife stories anymore, I sometimes can't resist the temptation. For example, there's one story about a lady from one of my parishes. It took place during a time when it was customary for individuals and families to visit with the pastor on Saturday before they went to Communion on Sunday.
It was during such a meeting that a wife shared this: "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."
Now you know why some call my stories "sinful."
At any rate, I would like to ask, is it possible you've been having a tough time getting along with the old devil in your life? Don't answer too quickly. Think about it. Is it possible that you can have those days, weeks and months when you're having a bad day and you're hard to get along with?
At such moments it's mighty easy to point out the sins and shortcomings of others and it's a whole lot harder to see the things we do wrong ourselves.
Maybe it's time all of us took a good, hard, honest look in the mirror. We might be surprised at what we see. Do we have a small set of horns or a little bit of a tail?
Well, possibly not.
If so, we need to bend our knee and bow our heads in repentance and then be lifted up by the forgiveness that is ours in the Savior.
With that combination working within us we might find ourselves approaching each day a little better, a little brighter.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to look at ourselves before we accuse someone else. May we forgive others as we need to be forgiven -- as we have been forgiven by You. This we ask for in the Name of the Savior. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries