We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
We can harm others by our attitudes as well as our actions. We may see ourselves as "righteous," assuming a superior attitude, ready to criticize at any moment. We may feel we have the right to criticize because others aren't measuring up to what we think should be expected. But our judgmental nagging doesn't seem to help others improve their performance.
James wrote, "Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. . . . But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you" (James 4:11-12). Here's an example of someone who was critical when he didn't understand the whole situation. Eli the priest saw Hannah in the temple. "Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking" (1 Samuel 1:13). Hannah was actually begging God to give her a child; her silent prayer was driven by a sad heart, not a drunken mind.
We are not God! We haven't been designated as the judge of the people around us. So we really don't have the right to criticize and speak evil of others. Besides, we may not fully understand the problems involved and may end up adding to them instead of helping. We need to consider how our negative, critical, and self-righteous attitudes have harmed others and become willing to make amends. Perhaps our focus on the wrongs of others is a way to avoid our own problems.
As God loves us, he wants to create loving hearts within us.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.