A couple of days ago I helped a friend with a moving sale. Things were slow at times and so there we sat on lawn chairs out in her garage shooting the breeze. We started talking about various people at a church we had both once attended. What became of so and so? Remember when this happened? Oh, where is she now? Innocent stuff like that.
My friend gave me the update on a particular person who had been in a ministry position at the church and my ears really perked up. It was not a very good report. The person had eventually left the ministry and was back at a profession they had prior to seminary. Other things had not turned out so well either. I said, “Oh, that’s really too bad,” but in my heart I could feel the seeds of gloating start to pop up.
Really, I said to myself, it’s just what they deserve. This person had betrayed another minister and had gotten away with it at the time. So much hurt had been caused to so many people. Yet it had never been acknowledged and it seemed like one of those cases where evil triumphs over good. Well, well, well, I thought; I guess the truth always comes out in the end. I wonder how they feel now!
It was easy to see how I felt. Self righteous! I was starting to remind myself of the Pharisee Jesus talked about in Luke 18:9-13 who prayed; “God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” In the meanwhile the tax collector was saying; “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” The truth is that I want everyone to get what they deserve, to reap what they sow, and to be exposed in their sin – except me!
Well Barbara, stop that gloating. I had to admit that’s what I was doing and that I was in no better condition than the person I condemned. If you find yourself with some of the same secret thoughts starting to rear their ugly heads, I invite you to do the same. Stop that gloating!