Lower Your Standards

by Lee Buford on November 30, 2010

Lower your standards. That’s advice you don’t hear very often. In fact we are taught, trained, and conditioned to do just the opposite…at least in theory. But our inconsistency in applying our standards does more harm than good.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage that we judge others by their actions while judging ourselves by our intentions. There’s much truth to that, and we’re quick to play the Romans 3:23 card when we fall short in all areas of our own lives:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

The key here is to remind ourselves that “ALL have sinned and (ALL) fall short of the glory of God.” Not all others. Not all of you. But all of US…including me and you. And any and all redemption, sanctification, and success any one of us may realize is ALL a result of His gift of grace in our lives. It has nothing to do with our ability to reach our standards of human achievement and holiness.

So the next time we’re faced with the opportunity to judge or criticize someone who doesn’t meet our standards, let’s lower our standards…at least down to the level to which we hold ourselves accountable. At this level we see our own sin, our own depravity, and our own need for the gospel. At this level we see the cross, Christ crucified in our place, and His everlasting gift of grace that no human standard merits.

Suddenly our focus is not on the sin of another, but on our own lives and our own need for the One by whom we can rightly compare ourselves. He is the standard, and without Him none of us are capable of achieving even our own lofty standards in life.

So lower your standards when judging or pointing out sin in the lives and actions of others. Don’t expect others to adhere to standards that you can’t live by yourself. After all, you expect that same consideration from those looking at you. We are never to ignore sin, but we should extend the proper measures of grace, love, and encouragement when addressing it. You just might be surprised at the results…

Not only in others, but also in you.


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