"Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man (the rich man). . . ."
II Samuel 12: 5
"The Woman In The Mirror"
"The business of finding fault is very easy, and that of doing better very difficult."
St. Francis de Sales
Have there been times in my own life when it was easy to see the faults in another person's life, but difficult to recognize them in my own behavior?
"A fault which humbles a man is of more use to him than a good action which puffs him up."
"When you are looking for faults to correct, look in the mirror."
I'll always remember hearing the song, "Man In The Mirror," written by the late pop star, Michael Jackson. From the first time I listened to the words, I found the message of the song so appropriate in a world where it has become the "norm" to point your fingers at others and accuse them of all the faults and problems, while at the same time, letting yourself off the hook.
The message of this best-selling song, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror, I'm asking him to change his ways, and no message could have been any clearer, if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change," sounds as if it came directly from the New Testament words of Jesus when He instructed His followers in Matthew 7: 1, 13, "Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves…why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother's eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?"
It's easy to look outside ourselves and see what is wrong with everyone else, while we seem oblivious to our own faults. And this is what we find was the reaction that David had when he saw the speck in his brother's eye. A rich man had stolen a small sheep and killed it and given it for food to a stranger.
The Bible says that David's response was one of anger and wrath. He was infuriated that another person would stoop to such foul behavior. And yet, it was the beam that was in David's eye, which completely blocked his view of his own faults. As one person noted, "The easiest thing to find is fault," and David certainly found fault with the rich man who preyed upon his poor neighbor.
Indeed, as Nathan pointed out, the greed of the rich man was appalling. His theft of another's property was wrong, make no mistake about it. But what is so instructive in the response of David is how we often act the same way. We can see all the mistakes of others but are totally blind to the mistakes in our own lives. As one person observed, "The best place to criticize your neighbor is in front of your own mirror," for it is here where we can see our own behavior for exactly what it is. In the case of David, it was his greedy spirit of entitlement that led him to take from another what wasn't his own.
In the life of David and his initial response to the story told by Nathan, we find an example of the normal human reaction to seeing our own mistakes played out right before our eyes. Author Joan Puls lays out the way we must come to recognize the errors of our ways when she wrote, "Often nothing requires more courage than admission of fault. The disturbance that repentance evokes in our personal and collective psyches is so jarring that we tend to exhaust every other available dynamic before we succumb. We dread the bald admission of our wrong-doing!" And this is why when confronted with the cruelty of another, it was easier for David to let his wrath loose on the rich man in the story who had taken a sheep that wasn't his own. How hard it was for David and how hard it is for you and me to have to look eye-to-eye with the man or woman in the mirror and change our ways.
"Faultfinding is one talent that should be buried."
"Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."
Thomas A. Kempis
"Dear Lord of gracious mind and heart, forgive me for the unbearable ways of my arrogance and snobbishness. How unkind of me to think poorly without cause of those about me! Help me realize that a song can be lovely even though I neither wrote nor sang it. Make clear to me that all worthy thoughts did not originate in my mind; that other folk have good manners; and that when I pass away the world will not be bereft of grace."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.