Have you ever noticed that we like to classify sins? We typically classify sins into two categories: big ones and little ones. “Little sins are the ones I do, big sins are the ones you do.”
It is important to note that the Bible makes no such distinction. Sins are like links in a chain, if any one, single link is broken, then the chain as a whole is broken. All sins are big sins.
The purpose of this blog is not to show the similarities between our sins and links in a chain. It is to point out that we should be as gentle with other’s faults as we are with our own. In other words, if we want to build winning relationships we must be more than willing to forgive.
Henri Nouwen says, “Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly.” Let’s be honest, we all love poorly. Therefore, we all need forgiveness. Let’s be as gentle with other’s faults as we are our own.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you” (NIV). When we stop and reflect on the immeasurable amount of forgiveness God has poured out on us, how can we not, in turn, pour out forgiveness on those we come in contact with on a regular basis? We all do stupid stuff. We all need forgiveness. This forgiveness is key in building winning relationships. A healthy relationship does not exist without genuine forgiveness from both sides.
Look at what Jesus had to say about being judgmental and forgiveness: “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” (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV). In other words, we are going to get back what we dish out. If we want other people to be gentle and forgiving of our faults, then we must be just as gentle and forgiving of their faults. This does not mean ignoring each other’s faults, but it means handling those faults in a non-judgmental, forgiving way.
Jesus goes on to say, “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” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV). We cannot adequately deal with our own sins if we classify our sins as smaller than the sins of others. We must honestly deal with our sins before we can adequately help somebody else deal with theirs.
Then Jesus says something I think most people completely misunderstand, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6, NIV). Most people teach that Jesus is telling us here to not waste our time trying to lead people to him who are not willing to follow him. I do not believe that is what Jesus is teaching here at all.
In the context of what Jesus had just said about not judging people and dealing with our own sins before we try to deal with the sins others, I believe Jesus is talking about not wasting our precious and valuable time and energy being a nit-picky Christian. A nit-picky Christian is someone who is always pointing out other people’s faults but never acknowledging their own. That’s right, they classify their own sins as little sins and other people’s (or at least the people they disagree with) as big sins.
If we want to build winning relationships with our co-workers, kids, and spouse we must be as gentle with their faults as we are our own. We all have faults and we all need forgiveness. The best relationships are NOT the ones with the fewest faults, they are the ones with the most forgiveness.
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