Self – Evaluation ✔︎

My life is perfect! ✘
My currect situation is desirable! ✘
I am work in progress! ✔︎
I need life-auditing! ✔︎
There is nothing wrong with me, I am perfectly fine! ✘
I am totally human! ✔︎
I look at others life or situation as something more serious than my own situation! ✘

These questions were inspired by the conversation we have awhile ago on the way home. Regarding this mother-daughter situation where the daughter always looks fancy and buys expensive clothes while she never give to her mom. Then on my way home, there was an idea / “other sense” that passed through telling me and asking me that, “Claire you talked about these people like your life is perfect! Like your situation is desirable and nothing wrong with it! You talked about them like they are not talking about you and your situation as well when you are not around.”

Wow! It was really humiliating and demoralizing. I totally agree! Why can’t I just shut my mouth and mind my own business? I have my own issues in life to deal with?! I am no perfect at all (well, I never said I am)! It is just this human nature in which we are all far-sighted, we can be able to see the flaws and what’s wrong with the situation of others like there is nothing wrong with our situation. There was this verse in the Bible where it says, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3 NASB).

I am guilty as charged! And mind you it takes gut to admit that you are wrong. And I thank that moment when the “other sense” just talked to me like that and told stuff that I sometimes don’t realize and make me realize. But of course , don’t just stop with realization, it should be topped with action as well.  When there is a circumstances like that, you change your way of thinking about others. You change yourself from becoming hypocrite. You improve and be transformed from being “others-evaluator” to “self-evaluator”.

Psalm 139:1 (NASB) says, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.” HE (GOD) only knows who we are; our thoughts, our circumstances, what we are undergoing through, our difficulties, our goings and comings, our everything. So who I am I to judge or evaluate others situation or circumstances, right? My job is to love, to show compassion, to care, to encourage, etc. Anyway, Romans 8:28 (NASB) says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Maybe their situation is how GOD deals with them to their way to maturity. Maybe GOD is allowing their situation to draw them closer to HIM and become dependent to HIM that without HIM we are nothing or we can do nothing. Why would I assume that GOD gave me the task of checking other’s life? My life is not perfect at all! It has flaws here and there and who knows that is how HE deals with me also to know that I am such a wretched woman who needs saving daily, who needs GOD’s grace and mercy daily. I am not at all entitled to give any opinion about other’s life or choices in life. I have no right!

And that I am thankful indeed for this “other sense” checking on me to evaluate myself and what’s wrong with how I view others.

Savor the Flavor

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for HIM. – Psalm 37:7

Quick question. As you’re doing your devotions right now, is your mind focused on GOD and GOD alone? Or on that assignment you haven’t started? Or how fast you can finish reading this because you have so much other stuff to do?

It’s obvious that the first choice is the ideal answer, but in our modern, fast-paced society of microwave meals, instant messages and live global news reports, IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION IS EVERYTHING. It seems that the faster and more convenient, the better. Some people even predict that simple pills will someday replace meals! Imagine going to McDonalds for a cheeseburger pill!

Although it’s hard not to get swept away in a world that is spinning faster and faster, Ecclesiates 3:1 tells us, “There is a time for everything and a season for ever activity under heaven.”

These days, for example, it’s easy to forget to listen for GOD’s voice because we are so focused on our own schedules, based on our own timing and knowledge. When we do ask GOD for HIS advice, we often don’t have the patience to wait for an answer. But Romans 8:25 tells us, “If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Next ime you’re rushing to devour a tantalizing meal, stop for a moment and savor the flavor. Spare a momnet to remember that GOD gave you tastebuds to enjoy those wonderful flavors. But most important, rejoice that GOD blessed you with a heart to listen to HIS Word. When it comes to alking to GOD, prayer is ike 24-hour buffet: HE’s always there, and you’re always welcome back for more.

Only GOD can satisfy your spiritual hunger and quench your thirst with living water. It’s free, with no standing in line! What are you waiting for? Bon Appetit!

*Copyright by Vanessa Choi

Judging, Criticizing and Judging Others

Self-righteousness is one of the hardest sins to avoid because it is so much easier to see other people’s faults than to see our own faults. But, judgment of a person’s character must be left to God (Romans 2:1-4, James 4:11-12). Rather than look for faults in others, we should look for the good in others and try to correct the faults within ourselves. Rather than criticizing other people, we should concentrate on living holy lives, ourselves. Jesus’ comical parable of a person with a log in his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another’s eye reminds us that we probably have bigger faults within ourselves (including self-righteousness) than the faults we like to criticize in others:

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. (NRSV, Matthew 7:1-5)

This does not mean, however, that all sin should be ignored:

  • Christians should help each other recognize and overcome sinful actions and attitudes, but it must be done in a sincere spirit of love and not with the intention to punish, embarrass or disparage (Matthew 18:15, Luke 17:3-4, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, James 5:19-20, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, 2 Timothy 4:2).
  • Governments have the right to act for the common good and take action against offenders who threaten law and order (Luke 20:20-25, Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14).
  • Churches have the right to excommunicate members who are disruptive to their mission (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:9-12, 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).

Self-Righteousness, Arrogance and Smugness

No one is perfect; we are all sinners in one way or another (Romans 3:21-24, 1 John 1:8). If we treat people we consider to be “sinners” with scorn, or think we are better than they are, we are guilty of the sin of self-righteousness:

Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:9-14

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. – Proverbs 26:12

And as He sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” – Matthew 9:10-13

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. – Isaiah 5:21

Receive one who is weak in the faith, not to disputes over doubtful things. – Romans 14:1

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. – Galatians 6:1-3

A Righteous Anger

Why am i angry?

Where do anger and fighting among people originate? What causes strife? James answers these questions in James 4:1, and his answer is swift and simple, but not exactly what we like to hear. The Bible clearly declares that the problem lies within us, not without. James makes us understand that anger originates in our corrupted human nature and is the angeroutward manifestation of inward self-motivated desires. “But,” you might object, “what about righteous anger? And isn’t anger just an emotion? Surely being angry can’t be wrong or selfish when someone has just wronged you or treated you with cruelty! Wouldn’t expressions of anger be justified in such cases?”

Anger can be described as both an emotion and an expression of displeasure. Yes, there is such a thing as righteous anger; and yes, anger can be an appropriate emotion. In the vast majority of cases, however, expressed anger is incited by real or imagined personal injury accompanied by a desire for vengeance and retaliation, which is clearly sinful. Because expressions of anger come so naturally to us as frail human beings, we don’t readily like to admit that we could actually be sinning. In fact, even mature Christians may not be willing to evaluate their angry reactions in light of God’s Word or use biblical criteria to determine whether they are expressing righteous or unrighteous (sinful) anger.

Most of the time, we naturally want to excuse, justify, or redefine what God wants His children to face and conquer by His power and grace. Honest self-evaluation requires an enormous amount of courage, humility, and God-given grace. It is not for the fainthearted or shortsighted! Self-evaluation requires spiritual ears to hear and spiritual eyes to see in order to gladly humble ourselves before God with a willingness to reject our own reasoning and submit ourselves to God’s standards. According to James 4:6, we will discover God’s enabling grace and mercy to conquer sinful anger only when we humble ourselves to God. On the other hand, when we want our own way and stubbornly cling to our pride and self-sufficiency, we discover we cannot obtain God’s overcoming power. Because God resists (is opposed to) the proud, no amount of pleading elicits God’s help until our heart is humbled and dependent on Christ alone.

Righteous and Unrighteous Anger

The Bible clarifies the difference between righteous and sinful anger, and the contrast between these two angers is important to understand. The Bible distinguishes righteous anger as anger on behalf of others. Righteous anger is anger that imitates God’s anger, which is always controlled and with purpose. Righteous anger is not accompanied by hatred, malice, or resentment; it is not selfish, but expresses appropriate hatred of sin and injustice or stems out of genuine care and concern. The purpose of righteous anger is to correct or curtail destructive behavior, never to break relationships. God’s anger is directed at injustice or willful disobedience. Likewise, righteous anger is always expressed on behalf of another who is oppressed, abused, or betrayed.

Man’s anger, in contrast, is usually uncontrolled and without patience; it is characterized by hatred, malice, resentment, and selfishness. Sometimes man’s anger is used as an expression of indignation. This sinful anger destroys individuals, is often an expression of revenge, and is intended to hurt others. Man’s anger is an expression directed toward those who hurt or violate us. Sinful anger is always a reaction to offenses against oneself. Throughout the centuries, man’s sinful anger has left a trail of destruction more devastating than drugs or any natural disaster. Nothing has destroyed more relationships and families, caused more children to rebel, or discouraged more Christians than anger. Nothing has destroyed churches, governments, nations, organizations, or partnerships quite like anger. Anger is deadly. Jesus connected anger with hatred and murder. Anger does kill and destroy.

Righteous anger is directed toward the same things, in the same way, and for the same motives as God’s anger. Even when anger is a righteous response, it is to be controlled and kept in its proper place, lest it destroy others and us by turning into bitterness. We are never allowed freedom to take vengeance on anyone out of righteous anger, but are to trust God to be God and to execute proper vengeance in His time. We are permitted to use the righteous and just means God has provided for us to use in dealing with offenders and offenses, not our own human methods. These God-given means may include the use of law enforcement, the court system, church discipline, godly confrontation and appeal, etc. Apart from these, we are commanded to entrust our case to Him who has both the power and right to execute justice. Even in all these actions, we are never to be driven by hateful anger or delight in seeing our enemy suffer.

The emotion of anger is not sinful; the motivations and expressions of our angry emotions are sinful. For example, one might “rejoice” when his enemy falls in some way. The emotion of joy isn’t sinful—it is the reason behind the emotion that God condemns in Proverbs 24:17. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul tells us, “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place to the devil.” Paul is acknowledging the emotion of anger as a part of our human experience. Even so, he admonishes us not to express the emotion of anger in sinful ways (no matter how terribly we have been wronged) and not to leave anger unresolved. He tells us in Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” To the extent that we are able, we must strive for peace and actively pursue reconciliation with others. When we ignore this admonishment and fail to resolve problems and seek peace on God’s terms, we give Satan a foothold into our lives and pave the way for destruction.

Desires of the Heart

The Bible clearly teaches that all sinful anger originates in our corrupted human nature and is the outward manifestation of inward, self-motivated desires. Adverse circumstances and people may cause the anger of the heart to surface, but people and circumstances do not cause the anger in the heart. We like to say, “Such and such or so and so MADE me angry,” as if someone or something held a gun to our heads and forced us to react in anger. While circumstances may indeed provoke strong emotion in us, our individual interpretation of circumstances and our own sinful desires and choices ultimately incite sinful anger. The Bible tells us that anger arises out of our lust (selfish desires) that war in our members (within us) (James 4:1). When our hearts are filled with “I want,” “I need,” and “I deserve”—sinful anger is lurking at the door.

We will react in anger when our desires become something we believe we are entitled to and those desires are in some way withheld from us. The desire itself is not necessarily wrong—our desires may actually be quite noble and good. The problem is the place of importance that we give to our desire and whether we are willing to sin in order to get it. A desire that has become a requirement for our happiness or a demand of any kind completely leaves God out of the equation. The place of importance we give to our desires fails to take into consideration the fact that God has sovereignly ordained us to live in an imperfect world and expects us to learn to respond to it by submitting to God’s ways and will. Anger is essentially an expression of our heart that says, “I don’t like what has just happened, and I am extremely unhappy about it.” Our feelings and our wants become the prime issue at the moment we express sinful anger—our thoughts are far from being focused on God’s work in the matter, what He wants to accomplish, or how He wants us to respond to disappointment, injustice, sinful behavior of others, or adversities common to life. Instead, lightning quick thoughts along the lines of “he should” or “he shouldn’t” or “how dare he” invariably take center stage in our minds and immediately precede expressions of sinful anger.

James describes the futile attempts of angry people to get what they want in James 4:2. “Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Angry people want life on their own terms, without inconveniences, disappointments, or suffering of any kind. They passionately want their own way, and they will attempt to circumvent God, or sin, in order to get their way. They are not willing to see God in every situation of life, nor are they willing to wait patiently for Him to work on their behalf. Even if they pray for whatever it is they desire, they have only their own desires in mind. They are like Martha who came to Jesus asking Him to make Mary get up and help. Angry people do not want what Jesus wants, and they have no intention of giving up their desires for His. They want Him to side with them and cater to their selfish demands. When Jesus isn’t manipulated or bullied into giving them what they ask for, they are all the more agitated or discouraged.

Angry behavior as we have described reveals a prideful desire to govern one’s own life. At its roots, anger is a desire to exalt and worship self and is a refusal to yield to the authority and Lordship of Christ. This is why James goes on to address angry people as spiritual adulterers who think and behave in the same way the world does. To become angry at what God allows or disallows is to accuse and reject God Himself. Anger is the epitome of pride because it puts self in God’s place and gives to one’s self the prerogatives and rights that only God can have. The angry and prideful heart depends on itself to decide what is good and bad, what should or shouldn’t happen, or how others are to behave or not behave.

The Way Up Is Down

The reasoning of a sinful human heart propels the heart to reject what God may want and embrace and instead embrace what it wants. This is why biblical accounts of incidents involving anger are invariably connected in some way to pride. The two are inseparable twins. Pride ignores God and focuses instead on one’s perceived purity and rights. Humility, in contrast, bows to God’s sovereignty and sees God as holy and pure, and sees self as frail and undeserving of the least of God’s favor. Humility does not clench a fist around its rights, making God pry loose one finger at a time. Rather, a humble spirit willingly opens its hand to God with childlike trust. Humility recognizes God’s wisdom and power in contrast with our human ignorance and weakness, His perfection and authority with our imperfection and lowliness, and His faithfulness and provision with our unfaithfulness and dependence on Him for everything.

In James 4:6-7, the author ties all the preceding verses in chapter four together and draws a conclusion that also happens to be the greatest antidote to anger. The verses say, “God resisteth [is opposed to] the proud, but giveth grace [unmerited favor, desire, and ability to do God’s will] to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Anger can be controlled by human efforts provided the motivation is strong enough, but none can ever conquer anger without submitting their heart and life wholly to God. Anger and pride are the hallmark of Satan. He thrives on and perpetuates these sinful twins by exploiting man’s selfish tendencies toward serving his own purpose and goals. Man cannot win this spiritual battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil by fighting in worldly ways or exerting his own willpower and determination. We succeed in fighting our sinful nature and the wiles of the devil by bowing our will to God and submitting wholly to Christ alone. To submit to God is to resist the devil. James 4:10 records, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” Humility, then, is the cornerstone truth that will lead to true freedom from anger.

The Many Faces of Anger

Anger is expressed in many ways besides the common reaction of blowing up or speaking hatefully. While anger commonly takes the form of loud outrage, verbal attacks, throwing objects, or slamming a door, anger is expressed just as easily by crying, clamming up, refusing to cooperate with others, or sulking. Some resort to physical violence such as hitting, slapping, or kicking when a person or thing gets in the way or displeases. Others use sarcasm, excessive teasing, or biting humor to vent their buried anger. Many expressions of hostility and anger are easily recognizable—others are not. Those who are inwardly and quietly seething with anger may not even recognize it in themselves. Such people typically learn to use words that can be masked expressions of anger. These include “I’m annoyed,” “I’m irritated,” “I’m fed up,” “I’m hurt,” or “I’m frustrated.” In all honesty, words such as these might more accurately be replaced with, “I’m angry.” Some people are able to keep their anger so well hidden that others never so much as suspect a problem with anger. The single most difficult aspect of identifying and conquering anger is coming to a place where there is a willingness to face, admit, and biblically deal with one’s own sins in the matter. Angry people tend to convince themselves (and others) that their anger and related problems are a direct result of circumstances they did not bring about or a result of other people who have not dealt with them in ways they believe they deserve. Attempts to justify or excuse anger contribute to this self-deception and keep an angry person in bondage to the sin of anger. Anger always betrays our belief that we have a right to expect someone or something to fulfill our desires; and when our desires are not fulfilled, flaring up in obvious or hurtful ways is viewed as justifiable, if not reasonable.