“Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 CJB
Later when I took some counseling courses, I learned the adult counterpart to that old adage. It goes like this – We tend to recognize and criticize in others the things we are most guilty of ourselves.
Just like God only gave us one mouth and two ears so we listen twice as much as we talk, he only created us with one pointer finger on each hand so we remember to examine our own lives before we criticise others.
Try this experiment – play tug-of war by gripping the rope with only the last three fingers on each hand. You won’t be able to hold the rope very well and it will slip easily from your grasp. But when you curl that pointer finger around the rope, your grip becomes stronger! That pointer finger is the anchor which strengthens your grip.
Pointing fingers at the flaws of others has a tendency to drive them away from us when what we really need to do is to hold onto them to build a foundation of unity and strength. It begins with forgiveness which allows us to curl that pointer finger around those we care about rather than criticizing them for their shortcomings.
It allows us to grip them with love instead – caring about them and holding them up to the Lord in prayer. He is the only one who can change them and fix their flaws – like he’s fixing ours! All the finger-pointing in the world won’t help.
Father help me to examine my own heart first before judging others; to forgive them for their shortcomings and to hold them up in prayer to you when I see flaws in their lives. Amen.