How do we distinguish the difference between “genuinely concerned” for the spiritual well being of others and simply being judgmental and gossipy?
One word — Prayer.
Next time when you feel your “spiritual concerns” for another brother or sister have started to become judgmental and filling your heart with increasing discontent, please remember this story of John Hyde.
“PRAYING HYDE” – Author Unknown.
Mr. Hyde had a wonderful experience to which he owed, I believe, his power with God, and therefore with man. He used to speak of it as one of the most direct and solemn lessons God ever taught him.
He was up in the hills resting for a short time. He had been burdened about the spiritual conditions of a certain pastor, and he resolved to spend time in definite intercession for him. Entering into his “inner chamber” he began pouring out his heart to his Heavenly Father concerning that brother somewhat as follows:
“O God! Thou knowest that my brother now is” — (”cold” he was going to say) when suddenly a hand seemed to be laid on his lips, and a voice said to him in stern reproach, “He that toucheth him, toucheth the apple of mine eye.” [Zech 2:8]
A great horror came over him. He had been guilty before God of “accusing the brethren”. [Rom 2:15] He felt rebuked and humbled before God. It was he himself who first needed putting right. He confessed this sin. (He claimed the precious blood of Christ that cleanseth from all sin!) [1 John 1:7] “Whatsoever things are lovely … if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on ‘these things.’” [Phil 4:8] Then he cried out, “Father, show me what things are lovely and of good report in my brother’s life.”
Like a flash he remembered how that brother had given up all for Christ, enduring much suffering from relations whom he had given up! He was reminded of his years of hard work, of the tact with which he managed his difficult congregation, of the many quarrels he had healed, of what a model husband he was. One thing after another rose up before him and so all his prayer season was spent in praise for his brother instead of in prayer. He could not recall a single petition, nothing but thanksgiving!
God was opening his servant’s eyes to the highest of ministries, that of praise. Mark the result also on that brother’s life: When Mr. Hyde went down to the plains, he found that just then the brother had received a great spiritual uplift.
While he was praising, God was blessing. A wonderful Divine Law, the law of a Father’s love. While we bless God for any child of His, He delights to bless that one! This was the secret of John Hyde’s power with God. He saw the good in God’s little ones, and so was able to appreciate God’s work of grace in that heart. Hence he supplied the heavenly atmosphere of praise in which God’s love was free to work in all its fullness.