– Phillips Brooks
Jesus told us to be careful in how we judge others for their having a toothpick in their eye compared to a telephone pole in their own eye, otherwise Jesus calls us a hypocrite (Matt 7:5). Solomon reminds us that “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov 19:11). Only when it is sin that can hurt the church do you bring it to their attention (Matt 18:15). It’s like living in California. There’re lots of faults, you just can’t dwell on them.
When you bear with one another and carry one’s burdens, you are lightening the load for them, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2) “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Paul may have put it best when he wrote “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom 15:1).
Sometimes people suffer as the result of other people’s sins and it is through no fault of their own. This is really difficult since they might start to believe that God is punishing them for something they did, when the Bible says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1st John 1:9) but the other extreme is “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1st John 1:10). It just seems that we find it harder to forgive ourselves than we do others.
Pray for One Another
I take great comfort when people say they pray for me and I thank God for them all. I know that we’re command, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). There is no power without prayer and sometimes it’s because “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3). So why not pray for God’s blessings upon others, for others to be healed, and for others to come to saving faith? I wonder how many people prayed for us to be saved or to be healed.
It seems clear from Scripture that we ought to bear with the faults of others as we would have them bear with ours, so Phillips Brooks is exactly right. We can look at the smaller faults of others and be blinded to our own bigger faults. We can lighten our brother and sister’s loads by taking some of the weight ourselves. We can learn to forgive ourselves because God says He’s forgiven us. And we can pray for one another because we need one another more than we know.