A brother once shared a word of wisdom with me: “Never let someone else’s sin cause you to sin.” Negative behaviors from others pose the temptation for me to feel morally superior ~ to react ~ or, to realize that, without God’s grace…there go I.
Observing negative behavior can be a powerful teaching experience and work to strengthen my desire to be more like Jesus. The choice is mine; the grace is His.
Still even more sobering are the behaviors I see in myself. Ugh…did I say that? Oh me…did I really think those thoughts about that person? Blush…did I carelessly leave such a negative impression by my actions? My flesh is quite capable of parenting me in ‘how to do it wrong and bear poor fruit;’ these personal faults can teach life lessons … when I’m paying close attention to what comes out of me.
Ezekiel prophesied: “Suppose a child who sees the sins of his parent but doesn’t follow in a parent’s footsteps”–[then he lists a few verses of the things the child does not do wrong, having observed the parent]. He continues: “…He does what I [the Lord] say: he performs My laws and lives by My statutes. This person will not die for the sins of the parent; he will live truly and well.” [18:14, 17]
Ponder: “…Doesn’t follow in a parent’s [or another’s] footsteps …but lives by My statutes.” The sins of another will not get inside me if I live by the statutes of the Ultimate Parent, Father God.