“Change the way you are living and stop doing the things you are doing.” Jer. 7:5
It was so clear to Fred and yet his friend didn’t seem to notice. As a matter of fact, his observations regarding friends and workmates always fell on deaf ears. Fred was quite frustrated since his motives were pure. His desire was that people would benefit from his keen sense of observation and make the appropriate changes in their lives. Instead, he seemed to alienate most people and frustrate himself. How could he get people to understand?
One day, as Fred was reading the Bible and meditating on what he read, a section in the book of Jeremiah jumped out at him and smacked him in the face, “Change the way you are living and stop doing the things you are doing.” (Jer. 7:5). Although this section was talking to the Israelites about a specific issue, God used it to speak to Fred. What stood out to him was that he should concentrate on changing himself, not others! In a flash, his judgmental and critical attitude flooded over him. The only thing I can change is myself and my attitude, he realized!
John 7:24 Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.
Luke 6:36-37 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:41-42 And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
John 8:3-11 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Romans 2:1 So every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things.
By now Fred was on his knees, tears running down his face, repenting before the Lord. This was the refining fire of personal conviction at work in his heart. And he was ready for the process. Let it burn, Lord. Let it burn. Scrape off the dross and remove the scales from my eyes.
John 5:24 I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.
James 2:13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
Once again, the power of God’s Word began to sink into Fred’s receptive heart as he was powerfully reminded that it is God who makes the changes in us, not each other. Instead of taking what he saw in friends and co-workers lives to the Lord in prayer, Fred was misusing the information and forming it into tools of criticism and judgment.
Heb. 10:10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
At last Fred understood that it is God, after all, who makes us holy—and the only person we can change is ourselves.