‘He says to himself, ”Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, ”No one will ever do me harm.”’ (v6) Psalm 10:1–7

When life is tough, we often complain at the apparent ease of another’s life experience. Such comparisons are based on our assumptions about the life we’re observing. But we only see the outward appearance. Jesus makes it clear that it is the heart within that counts. For what comes from the heart poisons the whole person (Matt. 12:34). We can never know the realities that lie beneath the skin.

Humility requires us to think only the best of another (Rom. 12:3). Such comparisons produce resentment or our indignation at having been treated badly. Of course, what is really under scrutiny is our own assumptions about what we deserve from life. When tragedy strikes we need to find some solid ground on which to stand. This is in short supply, and we assume we can create it by criticising others.

In pain, we strike out to protect ourselves, unlike Jesus’ example. God seems distant and we see others succeeding who we feel don’t deserve their apparent success. Now it’s best to call out to God, who hears the prayers of the lowly and wounded (Psa. 10:17–18). If we learn to appeal to God immediately when disappointed, disillusioned or despondent, then we can save ourselves from rubbing salt into the wound. Salt may help the healing process but is a healing born of self-induced pain.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Psa. 22; Isa. 53:7–9; Matt. 15:10–20;  Luke 6:43–49.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Take responsibility for yourself and look to God. Don’t criticise others. What are the implications for living like this for your daily life?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, You alone are consistent and from You alone might I receive life in all its fullness. Amen’ (John 10:10).

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.