There but?

01.29.21—Loving Criticism!--Luke 17:1-4


My friend, may I ask you a question? Often see wrong and hurt and make the decision to walk the other way rather than to help. We see sin lying there but why is that any of our business?


My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.

I’m M. Clifford Brunner




There but by the grace of God go I! From youth on I was taught the valuable resource of this adage. When something bad happened to someone else, I was always reminded not to be critical since that could be me sitting there in all that mess. What a convenient catchall this simple little nine word phrase is. Unfortunately, all too often we use this “there but” attitude as a crutch to push ourselves away from getting involved when we ought to.


Because it is far too disturbing to involve ourselves when all we really need to do is walk the other way, we often see wrong and hurt and make the decision to walk the other way than to help. We see sin lying there but why is that any of our business? Aren’t we sinners as well? No, passing by on the other side of the road is probably the safest route after all. Handling the criticism of others is one thing. But, knowing when and where it is proper to give our criticism is some- thing altogether different. Having been on the receiving end of criticism has a tendency to put us on the wrong side of the road when we're asked to lend ours to others.


Let me share a story with you; when I was a young man and just out of college I hung out with a bunch of friends who, like myself, enjoyed a great Friday night out. Since a number of us worked together at the same supermarket stocking groceries, we often got together after work in the parking lot just shooting the breeze. One of the guys in the group (we just called him Craze) however, liked to drink. A beer or two wasn’t good enough for him. He’d start out with a beer and then didn’t know when to stop. He wasn’t much of a menace or a bother, so we pretty much left him alone. Then one night Craze fell asleep at the wheel of his Mustang and wrapped himself around a tree. He survived, barely, --the Mustang didn’t. If one of us had been critical of his habit of drinking too much, Craze might not be walking with a limp today and someone might still be enjoying that classic car as well.


Jesus told His disciples that it was right to “rebuke” a brother when they sinned as long as we forgave that sin. Therein lies the key to walking on the right side of the road. When we see someone buried in sin and headed the wrong way, it’s okay for us to give criticism just as long as we check our own hearts before we speak. Are we sinners too? You bet! Being critical is fine as long as we don’t go into it with an attitude. Simply, out of love and the willingness to forgive that sin, apply the criticism and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. “There but by the grace of God go I?” Probably! That’s why it’s probably better to stop and help. Someday it could be us.


We pray. Heavenly Father. You tell us in Your Word that it is right to “rebuke” a brother when they have sinned as long as we forgave that sin. Therein lies the key to walking on the right side of the road. When we see someone buried in sin and headed the wrong way, help us to stop, correct but check our own hearts at the door first. Are we sinners too? Forgive us when we are afraid to be critical of sin when we see it in a brother or sister in Christ. Move us, out of love and the willingness to forgive that sin, apply the criticism and then let the Holy Spirit do the rest. “There but by the grace of God go we?” Help us to never forget that someday it could be us. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen!

Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.


If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to "This Passing Day!"


<thispassingday@gmail.com> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.

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