It is very easy to fall into the sin of self-righteousness, that is, easily being able to recognise and judge the sins of others while being partially if not fully blind to our own faults and failings. Today’s Gospel clearly warns us of this danger and labels us hypocrites if we do not avoid it!
I will never forget something my mother told me as a child: “It is easy to destroy something or be critical in judging another person; it is far more difficult to create something or build another person up.” As Christians, it is to the latter of these two positions that we are called. I am not saying that we should never be critical of another person. There are times when we need to correct the sins of others, but we should always do so with the intention of building them up, not destroying their reputation in the presence of others! There is a great difference between the above two options and we need to ensure that our actions rest on the right side of the divide!
If we study the Gospels carefully we will discover that Jesus never seeks to destroy the reputation of anyone. He will not compromise the truth and thus always points out sin when sin is present; he will always try to correct error. However, he does so with the intention of calling the person or persons involved to deeper conversion. He is not interested in destroying a person or institution for the sake of destroying. His only intention in all that he does is to lead people to deeper experience and knowledge of his Father’s love and mercy.
When we begin to focus on the faults of others I think it is a sign that we are refusing to address an issue in our own lives and thus when we notice ourselves doing this we should return to ourselves and look a little closer at what the Holy Spirit might want to reveal to us concerning our own level of conversion. Let us never neglect our own salvation, even for concern for another’s salvation! We will be more helpful to others if our own salvation is batter assured than if we are failing to address an area of sin in our lives.
What is the Holy Spirit saying to me at this moment of my life? What sin(s) does he want to deal with?
Lord Jesus, grant me the grace of a deeper openness to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life so that I will always be growing in holiness such that sin will never find a home in my heart, mind or souls.