By Larry Pasley
An elderly woman, who lived just a block from the church, never missed a Sunday service for most of her life. Each week, as she greeted the preacher after church, she would always say, “Preacher, that was a wonderful sermon. THEY really needed that!”
One cold winter day, after a heavy snowfall with most of the town buried in deep drifts, she was the only one who showed up for church. The preacher decided that he would take advantage of the situation by preaching a sermon on the evils of being self-righteous and hypocritical.
As she left the church, the woman greeted the preacher as usual and exclaimed, “Preacher, that was one of the best sermons you ever preached. It was really great. It’s too bad THEY weren’t here. THEY really needed to hear that!”
Are we guilty of applying Bible teachings to others but not to ourselves? It is easy sometimes to fall into the trap of not seeing our own sins but seeing those of others.
Matthew 7:1-5 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
The Bible directs commands specific to individuals on how they are to act. Husbands/wives; slaves/masters; parents/children; saints/sinners; elders/deacons; etc. the scriptures are intending for us to apply them to ourselves personally not to others.
We only profit from the scriptures when we apply them personally.
Hebrews 4:1-2 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
May we all strive to take the scriptures personally and apply them to ourselves as God intended.
- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website.