Dear Lord, forgive me for my impatience and selfishness. Defeat the bad attitude of competitiveness that I often display in arguments and disagreements with others in your family. Energize me by your Spirit to see areas where I can be a blessing and an encouragement to others. In Jesus' name I pray. AMEN.
"Make every effort!"
That's quite a challenge. But notice where that exertion is to be focused: peace and mutual edification. Both sides of this exhortation are two way responsibilities. I must pursue and share peace if I am going to have it myself. I must edify, and be open to being edified, if mutual edification is going to happen. In other words, we live with other people in God's family. He wants us to be responsible for making relationships work in our spiritual family. He reminds us it will require strenuous effort. But, isn't that true in every family relationship? Love means sacrifice, effort, and concern for others. When we share our love willingly, however, we're much more likely to see it coming back to us!
A six-year-old lad came home with a note from his teacher in which it was suggested that he be taken out of school because he was “too stupid to learn.” That boy was Thomas A. Edison. (and yet Edison is the fourth most prolific inventor in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name)
Alfred Lord Tennyson’s grandfather gave him 10 shillings for writing an eulogy on his grandmother. Handing it to the boy, the old man said: “There, that is the first money you ever earned by your poetry, and take my word for it, it will be the last.” (and yet Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, such as "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Crossing the Bar")
Benjamin Franklin’s mother-in-law hesitated at letting her daughter marry a printer. There were already two printing offices in the United States, and she feared that the country might not be able to support a third. (and yet Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.)
How wrong we often are when it comes to sizing up people or judging them. In fact, we are often critical and judgmental toward others. This seems to be our mode of operation in life: quick to judge and quick to criticize.
We sometimes criticize others unfairly. John Wesley told about a man he had little respect for because he considered him to be miserly and covetous. One day when this person contributed only a small gift to a worthy charity, Wesley openly criticized him.
After the incident, the man went to Wesley privately and told him he had been living on parsnips and water for several weeks. He explained that before his conversion, he had run up many bills. Now, by skimping on everything and buying nothing for himself he was paying off his creditors one by one. "Christ has made me an honest man," he said, "and so with all these debts to pay, I can give only a few offerings above my tithe. I must settle up with my worldly neighbors and show them what the grace of God can do in the heart of a man who was once dishonest." Wesley then apologized to the man and asked his forgiveness.
Dr./preacher George W. Truett told the story of a young lady who was brought before the church to be disciplined because of a violation of the church covenant. It was suggested that she be dropped from the roll of the church.
As the debate developed the preacher said, “Let us also call the church treasurer and have him read the record of the giving of every member, and let us vote to drop everyone who has violated God’s law against covetousness.” That bombshell cleared the air of accusers, as did Jesus when He said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Let’s consider what it means to stop passing judgment on others.
1- We must not be stumbling blocks
2- We must recognize the kingdom
3- We must do whatever leads to peace
Reference: Steve Shepherd - First Christian Church.