More from my Autobiography

Fall of 2005

I continued to pray for revival, and in answer to my pleas, God gave me diarrhea! I was so weak that I spent five days in bed. I didn’t even have the strength to read, so I spent a lot of time in prayer instead.

During this God-ordered time of sickness, He pointed out nine sins He wanted me to deal with more seriously. I was fighting against some of them, but not whole-heartedly as He desired. Others, like thinking judgmentally of others, I was fully indulging in without restraint. I agreed to join God in dealing with these sins.

One sin was thinking and speaking negative and critical thoughts. This is just part of my nature, and part of how our family is. Most people wouldn’t even class this as a sin, but in God’s eyes it is both selfish and destructive.  For example, when Barbara and I would be driving along, I’d make comments like, “Look at that awful house! Who would ever want to live in something like that?” or “See that woman over there? What an ugly dress she has on! Why would she pick something like that to wear in public?”

Why would I make these unnecessary comments? Because making such pronouncements puts me in charge. I was the judge, like the   man in the picture below, proclaiming what was right and what was wrong. It made me feel superior and in control. But it was not good.

Even worse, I was critical of many things in our everyday interactions and didn’t hesitate to speak out about them. I criticized how a person did ministry, how someone dealt with his children, how a team meeting went, how others drove, how my wife cooked. Since my motive was wrong–desiring to make myself the authority–even if my comments were correct, they were usually not received very well. My expressions were selfish, controlling and destructive.

After confessing this sin, I asked God for help in spotting critical and negative thoughts before I spoke them.  It was amazing how many of my thoughts fell into this category, and how difficult it was to stop the flow. But with the Lord’s help and guidance, there was progress.

About six months later Barbara said, “You know, you don’t talk to me as much as you used to!”

“You’re right,” I replied, “I’m editing out about 50% of what I used to say!”

Not only did this change make our conversations more pleasant, I found that saying those negative things had been a burden to me, creating a cloud of darkness in my thinking. Now things were lighter, both in the load I carried and in my thought life.

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