At my church (LifeChurch.tv) these last 4 weeks, there has been a wonderful series by Craig called "Those People." It's about the negative, hypocritical, manipulative, and critical people in our lives that just seem so hard to love. We all know someone that has one of these characteristics, and in some ways, we were all, or still are, these people as well. I came to realize that more than all the rest, I'm the critcal person. I don't always voice my opinions out loud, because I've somewhat learned to tame my tongue, but it's a heart condition, and when it comes to that, I'm guilty for sure.
I'm critical of people who are late to meetings, of people who don't do things exactly as I think they should do them, of others who don't produce the quality that I think some should strive toward (excellence in everything, right?) Why do I do that? What a nasty disease. It seems good to care about the small things, but it can really just lead to judgment that doesn't do anyone any good, and leads to a negative heart. I've caught myself several times about to share something, and then deciding to stop mid-thought, because really, it's not going to lift anyone up.
Dear Lord, help me to work on my critical nature. To be patient and loving toward all people, no matter if I understand if or why they do things or not. It's not up to me to make them perfect, but it is up to me to love them. Please give me a gentle, kind, patient heart. Help me love like you love, and take everything else to you.