The Good and the Bad

Love covers a multitude of sins.
1 PETER 4:8
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The Good and the Bad
We love to beautify and decorate ourselves and to see what is good in us, tickling ourselves with it as if it belonged to us. In order to maintain our exclusive claim to beauty, we ignore and leave out of sight the good there is in our neighbor. If we notice the least little pimple on him, we fill our eyes with it and so magnify it that on its account we see nothing good, though the man may have eyes like a hawk and a face like an angel. That would be like seeing someone in a garment all of gold except perhaps for a seam or a white thread drawn through it, and then acting shocked, as if it were worthless on that account. Meanwhile I would be precious in my own sight on account of the gold patch sewn on my shabby smock frock. So it is that we overlook our own vices, which are all over us, while we fail to see anything good about other people. Now, once this natural inclination appears among Christians, then the judging begins. Then I am ready to despise and condemn a man as soon as he stumbles a little or makes some other mistake. He treats me the same way, giving me the same measure I give him, as Christ says here. He searches out and he criticizes the worst things he can find about me. By such behavior love is suppressed, and all that remains is a biting and a devouring back and forth, until they have consumed each other and lost their Christianity.

From The Sermon on the Mount (Luther's Works 21:214-15)
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