By Dan Crain

ATLANTA -- I find it much easier to talk about someone else’s brokenness than my own. Perhaps this is why it is so tempting to watch shows like Moury Povich or TMZ. We like to observe the ugliness of others.

Why? It helps us escape ourselves, our own ugliness.

When we avoid self-examination and focus on the faults of others, it helps fill that emptiness inside our souls that was meant to be filled only with the love and affection of God, and His insistence that we are His beloved.

In other words, everyone needs to change except me.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about someone else who is not living a very healthy lifestyle. We decided that this person should make changes and confront some issues. Then I asked: “What did Jesus need to change in us?”

Does our friend need to change? Yes.

Do I need to change? Yes.

Pointing out the brokenness in others ignores this fact.

I see this manifest itself even in our two children, who are 4 and 2.

As my wife and I prepare for the addition of twins, we have tried putting Landon and Karis to sleep in the same bedroom. One night Landon told us that Karis enticed him want to play with his toys, as she disobediently decided to get out of bed and play.

The next night, when I told them it was time for bed, I said, “This means no playing around.” To this, Landon responded that Karis was the "trouble maker.”

This is one small example of why I find Jesus’ teachings so compelling. He cuts to the point and calls all of  us sinners, or, in my son’s word, “trouble makers.”

Look at the story of the woman caught in adultery. Her accusers brought this woman before Jesus to point out her sin, her brokenness.

What does Jesus do? He throws her accusers’ own brokenness right back at them: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

So how should we respond to the shortcomings of others, to their brokenness?

We should extend the same love, grace, forgiveness, kindness, mercy and faithfulness that God gives to us. We are broken people for whom God has forgiven much.

When we realize this, we can look at ourselves in a mirror and ask: Who really needs to change?

Dan Crain and his family.

Dan Crain and his family.

Dan Crain is a liaison/trainer in South Atlanta for Polis Institute. He can be reached at dan@polisinstitute.org.

Consider signing up for Dignity Serves, a six-week course that helps you rethink the way we serve others in our community. It teaches you to see problems differently and respond in a way that empowers those you serve rather than just meeting their immediate needs.