I have a problem. Actually, you have it, too. Well, at least, I’m guessing you have this problem. Most people do.
What problem? Well, it’s kind of embarrassing to tell you, but here it is: I have this tendency to see other people’s faults while ignoring my own.
You too? That’s what I thought.
We all have faults. I do. You do. We all do. But our tendency is to quickly see the faults in others while we conveniently ignore our own faults. Some people are quite gifted at this.
A boss commented to his secretary about one of his men, “Harry has such a bad memory, it’s a wonder he remembers to breathe. I asked him to pick up a newspaper on his way back from lunch, but I’m not ever sure he’ll remember his way back to the office.”
Just then, Harry burst in the door, brimming with enthusiasm.
He exclaimed, “Guess what, boss! At lunch I ran into old man Jones who hasn’t given us an order in seven years. Before he left I talked him into a million-dollar contract!”
The boss sighed and looked at his secretary, “What did I tell you? He forgot the newspaper.”
Let’s see this from another perspective.
A speaker held up a blank sheet of paper and asked, “What do you see?”
The reply was, “A piece of paper.”
He then placed the paper on the podium, made a tiny dot in the center and held it up again. “What do you see now?”
“A dot,” was the unanimous reply from the audience.
“Imagine this blank paper is a person,” the speaker said. “The small dot you saw is his/her biggest fault. The white surrounding the dot represents all of this person’s worthwhile qualities which we so easily fail to see. Often a fault seems bigger than it really is and we allow it to overshadow the many positive aspects of that person’s personality.”
We all have different backgrounds and we’re all wired in a unique way. No two people are alike — not even identical twins. That’s why we need patience with one another. God created each of us with different shapes and assigning each of us a different mission in life.
If anyone knows that we all have faults it’s God, and He gives some instruction to you and me on the subject. Here’s what He says: Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2b NLT)
In Charles Schultz’s cartoon “Peanuts,” Lucy is seen saying that if she was in charge of the world, she’d change everything. Charlie Brown says, “That wouldn’t be easy. Where would you start?” Lucy looks directly at him, and without hesitation, points her finger at him and says, “I’d start with you!”
I’d like to suggest that we take God’s view on this, and not Lucy’s. Sure, people have faults, but honestly, so do you. If we’re going to point out faults, let’s start with the person we see in the mirror each morning. Then, try and overlook the faults of others as easily as you overlook yours.
No, it won’t be easy. After all, we’ve become pretty good at finding faults in others while overlooking our own. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Right?
I’m getting started right now.