If you read last week's post, you know that I am studying a book called, "How to Stop the Pain," by James B. Richards and following up with a teaching from Chattanooga's Vikki Waters of Growing in Grace Ministries.
This week we learned that the best way to help others is to help yourself. Matthew 7:1-5 says,
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
We often are in denial about the planks in our own eyes which are pain and judgment about others and choose a path of control to mask the pain by various ways like scheming, reasoning, worrying, arguing, judging, condemning, elevating ourselves, living by rules, etc.
These behaviors lead to one of two tracks: rebellion (resistance, uncooperative actions, anger, hatred) or rejection (hurt, withdrawal, isolation, unworthiness, victimization, or helplessness).
Vikki Waters calls this cycle a "ditch" in our walk with the Lord. The good news is that God is ready to pull us out of these unhealthy cycles with His redemptive grace and abundant mercy.
The Bible teaches us to process our life's situations and relationships with a Biblical perspective. Taking care of our own business allows us to see others clearly through God's perspective.
For example James 5:13-15 says,
"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
In other words if we are in trouble, we should pray and seek Jesus. If we are happy, we should worship and praise the Lord. If we are sick, we should call on elders or spiritual friends to pray over us. No matter what circumstance, we should confess our sins so that we can be whole and healed.
It is God's plan for us to develop healthy though patterns and to be rooted and established in peace and grace. For many of us, there is going to be a season of readjusting our outlooks to that of Biblical perspectives. Our challenge will be to stay focused on what Scripture says instead of resorting to old thought patterns.
My Prayer: God, thank you for wise people who share so much information about how to have a healthy Biblical perspective about life. Holy Spirit, minister to our hearts to show us where we have gotten off in the ditch. Thank you for your restoration and desire to help us. Your Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, shine brightly Father. Establish our thoughts in peace and grace, Jesus. We thank you in advance for the truth we will apply to our lives. In Jesus's name!
For further study, go to Growing in Grace Ministries.