March 27, 2009

How few can bear to be told their faults!

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." Jeremiah 17:9

The deceitfulness of the heart appears in the highest degree, when men overlook the real motives of their conduct, and mistake the workings of their own corruptions, "for the fruits of the Spirit of God.

That there is such deceitfulness in the world, none can doubt, who consider the dreadful enormities that have been committed under the sacred name of religion. In many cases, it must be acknowledged, these enormities have been committed by people who were conscious of the motives from which they acted, and who employed religion merely as an engine to attain the objects of their avarice or ambition. But in other cases it is no less certain, that men have concealed from themselves the motive of their conduct, and even mistaken the workings of their corruptions for the fruits of the Spirit of God.

Men in general, are so backward to acknowledge their faults, and so displeased with those who are so faithful and friendly as to point them out. How few can bear to be told their faults! This is the sure and ready way to make most men your enemies, even though you administer the reproof in the gentlest, and most prudent manner.

Instead of reflecting on their own conduct, which might convince them of the justice of what is laid to their charge, many, in these cases, set themselves immediately to discover the faults in their faithful reprovers, or in those, who, they suspect, may have informed them; and turning away their attention entirely from themselves, are only concerned to find equal, if not greater blemishes in others. Thus deceitful is the heart of man. We wish always to entertain a favorable opinion of ourselves and of our own conduct, and are displeased with those who endeavor in any instance to change this opinion, though it be done with the best, and most friendly intention.

But how unreasonable and preposterous is this degree of self-love! Were we alive to our true interests, we would wish to become better acquainted with our follies and our faults, and would esteem our faithful reprovers our best friends. Instead of feeling any resentment against them, we would turn all our resentment against ourselves; and endeavor, in the strength of divine grace, to correct those evils which, were we not so blinded by self-love, we might easily discover.

But through the deceitfulness of the heart, men are generally disposed to justify their own conduct, and ready to throw the blame of what is amiss on anything else, sooner than on themselves.

David Black, 1762-1806


twofinches said...

This was an interesting post because it caused me to sit in the seat of the reproved and the reprover simultaneously. The very fact that we ignore the scriptures that require us to correct each others error (or even glaring sin) is evidence of both our cowardice and our conformity to the society we live in. "To each his own" we say and sigh. No matter your spiritual maturity though, a reproof makes you gulp down pride and, regradless of how lovingly it is applied, correction is not pleasant. IT is something to pray for then...the ablity to admit that we need improvement and to acknowledge that it is sometimes obvious to other believers. Thank you for making me think about this!

TruthMatters said...

I was pondering this last night and these thoughts came to mind. Anyone who has been an athelete, knows first hand the benefits of being corrected by a coach. I was a gymnast and time in the gym was not only a time of physical conditioning but more importantly a time of constant correction.

In fact, the coaches job was 1) to lead the workout session; 2) to support you and protect you from injury by assisting you as you learned the more difficult and risky "tricks"; and, most importantly 3) to point out all of your errors, all of the time. Was this difficult to bear? Not for someone who understood why he was doing it and what was gained by receiving it.

On the spiritual level isn't that what God does through is Word and by His Holy Spirt? Isn't that how God uses brothers and sisters in our life?

If we cannot bear correction; or having our faults pointed out we will never grow. An athelete knows this.

Oh Lord let us welcome your rebuke as much as we welcome your comfort and protection. Let us welcome and embrace the criticism and correction of others more than we do their praise. We want to soar through the air doing spiritual double back flips with a full twist on this earth so that all can see your power and glory in the life of a believer. If we cannot bear correction, we will spend life on earth doing one somersault after another and eventually finding no joy in going to the gym.

Let Your Word and Your Spirit be our coach and we will glorify your name in all the earth!

twofinches said...

What a wonderful analogy! I totally love this part of the prayer "We want to soar through the air doing spiritual double back flips with a full twist on this earth so that all can see your power and glory in the life of a believer"...thats quite an image :)

TruthMatters said...