I had the opportunity to proofread some Bible camp class material. I checked for punctuation, spelling errors, typos, and anything that I could find to make the material clear and correct. Proofreading is somewhat demanding, because you can’t just read and enjoy the material. You have to examine it critically, which is what the author of the material wanted. He wanted it to be the best it could be so that it could effectively teach the kids at camp.

Not everyone wants what they write, say, or do to be examined critically. A criticism, even if it is correct, is often not received with joy. In fact, criticism is often met with outright anger. This is especially true when the critic is thought to be unfair. When the Lord warned, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” He was not warning against all judging, but giving guidelines for judging. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Jesus understood something about us. We can so much more easily see the wrong in others than we can in ourselves. That is why I was asked to proofread the material. When I write something, I know how it is supposed to sound to the reader. I know how words are spelled and how sentences are structured. So when I make a mistake, I often can’t see it, because I know what it is supposed to say, even if it doesn’t actually say it. This also applies to how I live. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). The problem is that sometimes I just can’t see my own faults as clearly as I can see the faults of others.

As a proofreader, I was invited to be critical. In life, I am not free to have a critical spirit. “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4-5). But how can I see my own errors? “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” When I look into the mirror of God’s word, I need to be a “doer of God’s word,” and not just a hearer (James 1:22-25). I need to look at my own life critically, seeing how it reflects God’s will. What do you see when you proofread your life?