A Prayer for Owning and Grieving a Critical Spirit

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     Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matt. 7:1-2) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor. 13:4-6) Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

     Dear Lord Jesus, I should’ve seen it coming. Just when I was starting to feel pretty self-righteous about not being self-righteous, the serial killer inside of me woke up. My irritability factor went from 3 to an 8, on a scale of 1 to 10. Once again, I slipped into a self-appointed role of Olympic judge with scorecards in hand, and I haven’t given out any 10’s. Why is it easier some times, to catch people doing the wrong thing, rather than affirming the many right things they do?

     God, have mercy on me, the sinner. I really mean that, Jesus. You have exhausted God’s judgment against all my sins upon the cross—the 4 percent I am aware of, and the other 96 percent I am oblivious to as well. Who am I to judge your servants—your beloved? To you they answer, not to me. Jesus, you’ve called me to love others as you love me, not judge others with the judgment that has been entrusted to you alone.

     Soften my heart today, Holy Spirit. Gentle my heart with your love, heavenly Father. Tenderize my heart with your grace, Lord Jesus. Indeed, it will take the whole Trinity to change someone like me.

     Bring the resources of the gospel to bear upon my grumpy heart. Bring the power of resurrection to bear upon my untamed tongue. Bring the hope of the new heaven and new earth to bear upon impatient attitude. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ powerful name, with gratitude and expectancy.

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