Look in the Mirror
If we all look in the mirror and honestly examine ourselves, we must drop the stone. If I cast stones at anyone, it would be at me. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome and asked them, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Rom 14:10). There is no reason for me to sit in God’s judgment seat because He’s already there and He’s infinitely more qualified than I am to judge the hearts of mankind.
The Image of God
No matter what someone looks like, they were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27), and so we must treat them with dignity, respect, and love. Those who look at appearances and make judgments do so contrary to the way God looks at the person. God sees the heart and not the outward appearance of a person (1st Sam 16:7).
Spiritual Growth Rates
Look at your own life as you do other’s lives and see it as God’s Spirit working in us to grow us, but we should understand that we are all growing at different rates and it’s a lifelong process. The small acorn grows very, very slowly under the ground, where no one but God can see, but this same oak tree lives for a very long time and is a hardwood designed to take a beating from nature. On the other hand, elm trees grow fast, they sprout easily, and reach great heights quickly, but they are more fragile than the oak. I hope you see my point; we all grow in holiness at different rates and our rates are probably not the rate of growth in others.
Sanctification or growing in holiness takes more time with some people than it does with others. We are all in different journeys in life, and coming from different backgrounds and we don’t know other people’s history. I don’t know why some non-believing alcoholics can just quit while some Christians struggle with this all of their life. Instead of criticizing them when they fall, tell them you will pray for them and encourage them that God isn’t going to quit on them. If the church needed to be showing others mercy, we surely need it in this world today. Jude wrote that we should “have mercy on those who doubt” (Jude 1:22).
I believe that if we all look in the mirror; if we see others as being created in the image of God; if we understand that we all grow at a different rate; and if we are merciful with others, then God will be merciful to us. It is just as Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt 5:7).