Friday is the day for our weekly spelling test in my 5th grade class. When the test is over, the kids exchange papers and we grade them together as a class. Those kids are so hard on each other. Every week someone complains that their friend’s “O”s look like “C”s or their “A”s look like “U”s. They demand that every “T” be crossed and every “I” be dotted. I’m sure some of them have a future in some government office.
I am constantly trying to teach them about grace. My 5th graders are hard on each other and don’t give each other much grace because they don’t recognize their own need for grace. They have very short and selective memories. They remind me a lot of some Christians.
When Christians are hard on each other, demanding perfection of each other, it is because they do not see their own need for grace. Pride has blinded them to their own faults, and they undervalue God’s power to forgive.
Jesus talked about this. He said, “He who has been forgiven of much, loves much.” The woman weeping at his feet was a prostitute. The host, who forgot to give him water to wash his dusty feet when he arrived at the house, was a Religious Leader. Who loved Jesus more? The one who had been forgiven of more sins.
Those who do not recognize their own need for grace will always be hard on the people around them, like my 5th graders who are tyrants with a correcting pen. Once a person sees their own trashiness, smells their own filth, and understands all that God has had to put up with in cleaning them up, then that person is tender and sensitive to the cleaning up process in his neighbor. He says, “There but by the Grace of God would I go.” If it were not for God’s Grace towards me, you and I would be in identical straits.
Has Pride blinded you to your own need for grace? Are you hard on people? Ask God for the brokenness that comes with understanding your own pathetic state before a pure and holy God. Tenderness comes through brokenness. Compassion is born of humility.