Evangelist Dwight L. Moody once said, “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I’ve met.” You probably could look around the room today and point to someone who has given you trouble at some time. Perhaps a brother or sister even offended you this week. We live in a sinful world, surrounded by sinful people behaving sinfully all the time, and it is inevitable that we will brush up against someone in his or her sin and see it and be troubled by it.
And we are always tempted to respond to the troubles caused by a brother or by a neighbor by growing sullen or bitter, or by lashing back in retaliation, or by withholding from them because we just don’t feel like they’re worth it, or by puffing up in scornful pride that I can’t believe that someone would treat me this way.
But the humility of Moody’s statement is the antidote. “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man I’ve met.” If only we could see how desperately sinful we are ourselves, and if only we could see what a trouble our sin is to God in heaven, and if only I could see what others must put up with in order to love me.
We have come to worship this morning to draw near to the God of the universe, the God who is Father and Son and Holy Spirit, the God who is our covenant head and Lord, the God who spilled the blood of His own dear Son to redeem us for Himself. When we come to this God, we come and ask for forgiveness, aware of how wretchedly sinful our own hearts and ways are, and knowing such forgiveness, we forgive. We are free to love our brothers, knowing the great love of God in Christ.
Are you troubled by someone’s sin against you this morning? Forgive, for God forgives you much. Are you troubled by yourself? In the words of James, “Draw near to God and He [who is so rich in grace and bountiful in covenant mercy] will draw near to you. . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Come, let us worship the Lord together. We are the people of the Lord. Let us love one another and love our God.