How often we are blind to our own faults while we are keenly aware of the faults of others. The “beam” in our own eye blinds us to our own failings. The critical people of Christ’s day, so full of faults themselves, called Jesus “a gluttonous man and a wine bibber” (Matthew 11:19 KJV). What pain is caused by poisonous whispering. It is the besetting sin of many religious people and one of the crudest sins in the world.
Gossip can be dynamite. Gossip is the uttered judgment upon another and, when unkind, is malignant, growing slanderous tissues which destroy members of “the body of Christ.”
No human being can presume to judge another, because when we do we put ourselves in God’s place. To judge another is to assume superiority. We all need to beware of the superior person who wants to tell us something about ourselves “for our own good.” Robert Louis Stevenson reminds us: “There is so much good in the worst of us, And so much bad in the best of us; That it ill becomes any of us, To talk about the rest of us!”
Abraham Lincoln gave a fine word on this idea: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for the widow and the orphan, to do all that may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace for ourselves and all mankind.”
The world sees only the time a man falls; it takes little notice of the hundred times he may have conquered before he fell. Man who “looks on the outward appearance” cannot see the secret battle going on, the hidden struggle. We cannot know the causes of the faults we condemn. Many have secret sorrows that press upon them.
A man traveling in a railway car with another man nursing a crying baby said irascibly, “I wish to God you would take the whimpering child to its mother.” The man burst into tears and said, “I wish to God I could, sir, but she’s lying in a coffin in the luggage van.”
The Christian’s duty is to help men and women to rise out of their faults. Our attitude is like a boomerang; what we are to others rebounds again to ourselves. Said the quaint old Samuel Johnson, “Even the great God Himself does not presume to judge a man until he is dead.”
George B. Smith, Meditations for the Ordinary Man