I’m going to pick on someone a little bit. If you’re reading this, I love you!
I posted something on Facebook one day and I had a misspelled word or something. I’m that person, so immediately I got onto Facebook to correct it. And as I finished I had a comment from someone, almost immediately, on the correction I needed to make.
My response: while I was correcting, you were criticizing. I use this example, not to call out anyone, but to call out everyone, because that’s what we do. We criticize, not knowing that that person is making corrections…
Jesus set a great example of patience with people. I don’t think He ever expected anyone to immediately get everything right in their lives. I think He knew that mankind typically required a process of change. And when I think about Jesus, I often think of the criticism of the Pharisees. They had more to say about the people Jesus hung around than anyone. They couldn’t believe He would interact with tax collectors and harlots, people who in their opinion, were filth.
But in such a rush to criticize both Jesus and these people, they missed the fact that meeting Jesus made them want to correct their lifestyles. They watched other people’s salvation stories when they could have had their own. They missed the opportunity to congratulate instead of critique. The opportunity to commend instead of condemn.
I’m afraid that even today, we will still miss it. We’ll miss an opportunity to join Jesus at work or to praise His work because we’re too busy wondering why He’s wasting time on them. We’ll get so sidetracked on who God is working through that we miss the fact that He is working.
It’s not my job to wonder if God is making the right choice. It’s my job to know He is. So when He chooses someone’s life to correct, it would be good to not criticize them. But it would be best to congratulate them.
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”