Do we believe there to be other human beings who have sinned more than we have? We likely do, and we’re likely correct about this. The Old Testament book of Leviticus clearly teaches there are measures and degrees of human sin, and even measures and degrees of Divine wrath and chastening administered against it. Moreover, the Lord Jesus spoke to the issue in the Gospel of Luke:
“And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:47:48).
Obviously, some sin and some sinners are qualitatively and quantifiably greater than others. However, whose sin should most concern us? And with whose sin should we be the most aware and familiar? As born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the more sensitive we become to the Holy Spirit, the more we will attend ourselves to the failings of ourselves rather than others. We will lay down the stone in our hand, as it were, remembering full well the abundant mercy we have already received, and the abundant mercy we will require again as we too often stumble along the path of righteousness. As saints of old confessed, “It is I, Lord, it is I who stands most in need of Thy mercy!”
This does not mean that we ignore the fact of sin in others. On the contrary, Scripture calls believers to encourage, challenge and even correct each other. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). We do, however, emphasize our own faults in response to the Spirit of God maintaining our focus on our own need. Thereby, a grateful heart more and more forms in us for pardon received, along with a merciful heart toward others as the grace we receive becomes the grace we distribute. “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
We shall not get far in our relationship with God if the sins of others loom large, while we minimize our own. I seek to remember (and too often forget, I must confess) that my personal sins made necessary the tortured agony, forsakenness, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Enough consideration of that difficult truth will leave me little time to dwell overmuch on the failings of others.
“Search me, o God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”