Time for a pummeling. Though it can be painful, I love it when the Lord corrects me. My favorite sermons are those which convict me, wake me up from that constant spiritual lethargy and stupor from which we suffer . . . .
I find that one of the most constant and insidious sins affecting the Believer is the slip into self-righteousness and subtle spiritual pride. We look at the deluded, the lost, the God-haters and have little patience with them. Fools! Once your eyes are opened and the regeneration of your mind is underway, the delusions of the un-believing become so obvious, so clear. Why can't they see!
It is tempting and easy to look down on those who engage in loose behavior . . . vile talk . . . foul pronouncements . . . and it necessarily offends the conscience. We are quick to go with "justified" "righteous indignation" claiming that we are only angry for God's sake--and indeed, there is truth in it. We love the Lord and truth and it pains us to see His name and His people being maligned and persecuted by degenerate, irrational "fools."
However, "there but for the grace of God go I."
I don't think this can be recalled enough. Is it because we are smarter, better, more worthy, that we are able to See while they can't? No. There is NOTHING we have done to merit His grace in our lives. (This is a danger, I believe by the way, of the "libertarian free will"/Arminian worldview. For if it is our "free will" which gets us to Jesus and The Way, it must be that we somehow strove harder or better or worked our way to be me deserving of His favor--which, I dare say, gives cause to boast, God forbid.)
So, when we find ourselves impatient and looking down our nose at people in our lives who are making mistakes or acting irresponsibly from a "Christian" Believer's perspective it is good, quick medicine to recall that we were once just the same, and worse . . . and only by God's Sovereign grace do we find ourselves within the fold. NOTHING merited by us to get there. Next follows a holy tolerance, compassion, longsuffering and humility in dealing with difficult people . . . .