This morning I was asking the Lord to show me my sin so I could make it right. He instantly brought to mind something I hadn't realized I had done to my sister. And now that I think of it, I certainly would not have thought of it as a sin, though the Lord thought it critical enough to stir me to apologize!
One of my sisters has a hard time staying in touch with us. She has a busy life and rarely calls. If she does call, it's usually for a specific reason, and she has five minutes or less to talk. Well, this weekend she called me twice. Both times were when she needed something specific, and both times she didn't have much time to talk. Both times when I answered the phone I made some joke about being shocked that she called. And I realized this morning that I was just reminding her of her failure to stay in touch with us. The last thing I need to do each time she calls is remind her (even jokingly) that she needs to do more. (While it does bother me that she doesn't have or choose to spend her time catching up with us, I should be thankful for the five minutes I do get every now and then.)
This reminded me of a time in high school when I was about 15. I had begun to have a closer walk with the Lord and was feeling very convicted about my unwillingness to be wrong. I made a pronouncement to my family that I was trying to work on this and began to say, "I might be wrong, but..." Boy did I get ribbed every time I said that!! (Now, family, I have forgiven you, but you are the best example I have right now!) Rather than applaud me for being humbled and trying to do the right thing, I was constantly reminded of how rarely I had done it in the past. It was embarrassing and demoralizing.
I don't know if this is a sin or not, but instead of reminding people of their failures (in a joking way), why don't we naturally celebrate their success? Isn't it a wonderful thing when the Lord convicts us and moves us closer to Him? I enjoy knowing that there is something tangible I could be doing better, because I know that pleases the Lord. What a blessing to see a brother or sister in Christ in the same situation. I should be joyful with them when they please the Lord, not remind them of how many times they failed. I guess I'm thinking of bread rising...it rises for a while and then you have to punch it down. Reminding one of their failures is like punching the bread down. It takes the life out of me and makes me want to give up.
I know we’ll struggle forever with our flesh, but when I know a brother or sister is striving at doing the right thing, I want to be an encourager! I want people to feel free to share their convictions, because they know I’ll encourage their success!! I want to breed this kind of attitude in my home and raise my children to encourage others. I want my children to feel free to be transparent (and admit failures), because they know I desperately want what’s best for them…ultimately for them to be more like Christ!
Romans 13:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11a “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another...”
Let that be me...