Sometime the aspects of someone’s character with which we are so passionately in conflict, or have a hard time accepting, are often the self-same negative character traits with which we invariably struggle. They touch a raw nerve! They push our sensitive buttons. I have often noticed that we have a tendency to even exaggerate the other person’s flaws, making them appear disproportionately larger than they really are. Doesn’t it become easy then to be disdainful, and easier still to believe that we are definitely a cut above? It doesn’t take much to convince us, that our traits are not nearly as glaring as the other person’s. At least that way we won’t have to reveal and then deal with our own shortcomings. It hurts too much to face the truth.

In our view, the other person’s positive and excellent character traits are then sufficiently minimized. In some strange way it helps us to feel more comfortable about ourselves.

This is human nature. But when we are a child of God we need to realize that in the same way that the Holy Spirit is transforming our life, so also is HE transforming the life of the person we just judged. I would even venture to say that God has put us together especially with that person, so we could finally see ourselves as He knows us to be! Perhaps God has seen our complacency, our reluctance to work on ourselves, and He has decided to give us a wake-up call. He knows our potential for the same sinfulness in us which we denounce in the other! Why are we so reluctant to learn the lessons God wishes to teach us through the various circumstances and people whom he chooses to send as a catalyst into our lives?

As long as we are alive, there is hope for all of us. Every new day is an opportunity to learn empathy, compassion and mercy for someone who has been vulnerable and displayed their weakness, their limitations, and their true humanity. Our thoughts should never be pharisaic, “God, I thank you that I am not like him,” but rather, “God, in your eyes, my sins, however hidden to the public eye, are also an abomination to You, as the sins, flaws and deficiencies that I criticize in my fellow man. Though I may see the other fellow’s flaws as despicable, you see mine also as depraved.” All of us need God’s redeeming grace.

It is only when we finally acknowledge our bend to sinning, that God begins His work in us. He is constantly, patiently, lovingly working on each one of us and will make us perfectly mature in HIS time. Now if we could just be kind with one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven us.


"You're blind to the flaws of your friend," I was told,
"Seeing him only as you think him to be.
Someday the 'real' person will show himself,
You’ll be disappointed, just you wait and see!"

Oh, I've not been blind; I've seen the flaws
And can even imagine there's more.
But I've been so busy with great flaws of my own,
With the dragon, Satan, also crouched at my door!

The 'real' person is who God know us to be
Not what I perceive or what others declare.
Let's see each other with the eyes of HIS Love,
And enjoy all the beauty that's already there!

If it's only the character flaws that I notice
Looming larger than all the great stuff that I see,
I'd be sitting in judgment, self-righteous and proud,
Then God's disappointed at my sin in me.

It's not my job to pick friends apart,
I'm here to listen, to encourage, to care,
To offer true friendship, enjoy one another,
To pray, to support, in love just to be there.

I'm not yet the person Christ wants me to be,
Those are the daily struggles I face.
I am HIS workmanship, new creature in HIM,
Yet still am a part of a fallen race.

God sees in my heart who I'd like to be!
As I decide to relinquish to HIM my will,
He will transform me, one day at a time,
As I submit in humility, yielded and still.

HE'S working on me as HE'S working on you!
Let him without sin come and cast the first stone.
Let's bring out the best and encourage true growth.
Perfect is Jesus and Jesus alone!

Karin Ristau

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