These are three things that the Bible clearly says we should not do - and most of us who are Christians know this. But they lie very deeply in our nature, and we often don’t see why we are doing these things.
“Therefore, I say to you, don't worry about your life, what you'll eat or what you'll drink, or about your body, what you'll wear… Look at the birds in the sky. They don't sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:26-27 (CEB).
Some of us worry a lot. There are many things that we want to control. And there are many things that we can’t control. We can spend hours worrying about these things, imagining that the worst possible will happen.
The next time you’re tempted to worry, try to think about why you are worrying. Could it be that it comes from a lack of faith and trust in God? Even if things go in the “worst possible way”, do we believe what God has promised, that all things work together for good to those who love Him? (Romans 8:28.)
“Believing” does not mean that things will always go the way we want them to go. But it does mean that we have peace and rest in every situation, because we trust in God’s perfect plan for us in all that happens.
“Instead, desire [seek] first and foremost God's kingdom and God's righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34 (CEB).
“Be not judges of others, and you will not be judged.” Matthew 7:1 (BBE).
It couldn’t be said more clearly than that. But if we are honest, we have to admit that it’s not so easy. Our brain thinks thousands of thoughts each day. We are constantly sorting out in our thoughts the things we see, hear and experience, wondering about things and forming opinions. How many of those thoughts are 100 percent true, righteous, pure and good? (Philippians 4:8.)
When it comes to what we think about other people, do we just form an opinion based on what we see and hear, or could it be that there is a lot we don’t see or know? Do we “give it over to Him who judges righteously” as Peter tells us to do in 1 Peter 2:23? Doing this gives a total new meaning to “capturing our thoughts”, as is written in 2 Corinthians 10:5. These verses make it very clear that we have many things in our thoughts that we need to overcome.
Judging is something we do almost automatically. But when we see how often we are actually tempted to judge others in our thoughts, and start working to keep our hearts pure, then backbiting will also stop very quickly, because backbiting starts with a thought.
What is the real reason that we want to backbite others? Could it be that we are jealous, dissatisfied, unmerciful, self-righteous, that we love to gossip or that we think we are better than someone else (which actually is pride)? (Philippians 2:3.)
“… they are whisperers [gossips], backbiters … who, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:29-32.
Now if we see that we still worry, judge and backbite, remember that we are still in the time of grace and we can still make things right. Why not decide to stop with worrying, judging and backbiting this year? They lie so deep in our human nature, but we can overcome them. Not only will this make us much happier, it will also make our relationships with others so much better. Just think how it can become if we just stop with these 3 things this year! Think how good it can be to live with a pure heart!