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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Renée Miller

Monday, August 3

Whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent.
—Proverbs 11:12

It often spills out before we know it. We comment on someone's weight, the type of clothing they're wearing, the color or style of their hair. At a deeper level, we discuss people's attitudes, give our opinion of someone’s actions, speak with presumed authority on another’s motives.

The Russian saint Seraphim of Sarov once said that we make much of other's failings because we shun knowing ourselves. It's easy to see where others are imperfect, where others have failed to measure up, where others have lacked self-awareness.  Turning that critical eye on ourselves is the hard part.

Words of judgment that escape so quickly from our lips are senseless simply because they are powerless to change another person. The only effect they have is on our own soul. When we belittle someone else, it is we ourselves who are belittled.

We become smaller because we have not gone inward to identify the truth of our own selves. We are lessened because we have shut ourselves off from beauty. Missing an opportunity to gaze on the beauty of those who have been made in God's image, we become blind to the beauty woven into our own soul by the hand of heaven.

Choosing to stop our words of judgment just before they spill out makes it possible to look a little deeper.  We may be surprised when we detect the sparkle of a diamond shining in the darkness where before only a negative comment lurked.

Gracious God, let the beauty that hides in others be the surprise that causes me to gasp in wonder.