Do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.
Understanding our sinfulness helps us understand the sinfulness of other people. When you understand that everybody has been infected with the sin virus, you realize that every relationship can be destroyed, and even the most innocent relationships can turn to evil very quickly if you are not careful. Understanding other people’s sinfulness also keeps you from being disappointed when they sin against you.
I had a deep love for my predecessor at First Baptist Dallas, Dr. W. A. Criswell. Until the day he died, he was a great encouragement to me. But when I served on staff as a youth minister, there were times Dr. Criswell and I did not see eye to eye. One day, word came to me that Dr. Criswell had said something about me that was less than complimentary. Back then, I had a lot more fervor than I had good sense. So I stormed into his office and said, “Pastor, I heard you said such and such! Did you say that?”
Dr. Criswell handed me his Bible, and he said, “Robert, turn to Ecclesiastes 7. I want you to read out loud verses 21 and 22.” So I read verses 21 and 22: “Do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.” Suddenly I thought about some of the less-than-complimentary things I had said, even about him. He said, “Let’s pray together.” And that was it. To this day, those verses are a reminder to me not to be disappointed in other people. It may be an employer, it may be a parent, it may be a mate or a child–when another person lets you down, do not get too down over it. All of us have been infected with sin.
Understanding the sinfulness of mankind also helps us understand ourselves. Look at what Paul said in Romans 12:3: “Through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment.” The fact that you have been infected with sin means you are going to mess up. Do not be surprised when that happens. Do not be overly harsh on yourself.
I am not saying we can rationalize our sin. Sin is serious business in God’s sight. But the fact that we have been infected by sin should point us toward our need for a Savior. Our total depravity demands a greater answer, and that answer is Jesus Christ. “Though your sins are as scarlet,” God said in Isaiah 1:18, “they will be as white as snow.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Good Things Happen To Bad People” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.