You ever notice how easy it is to be the recipient of criticism? Often times that criticism comes from ourselves. We are never good enough to meet our own, much less someone else's standards of morality and spirituality. I can always find a flaw in myself, and if I am having trouble there are no doubt many that are more than willing to point one out for me. It is nothing more than a critical outlook birthed by a spirit of pride. I cannot accept that God loves me even though I cannot measure up to His holiness on my own.
Since I refuse to accept that the grace of God by faith alone is what produces any good works in me, I refuse to show that same grace to those around me.
It isn't always that people reject your witness because they are so evil, sometimes it's just because you are flat out mean, arrogant, and condescending. It reveals a lack of spiritual maturity. Just like the young man who thinks he has to impress everyone with his immense knowledge of everything, his lack of fear, his unbelievable ability to figure out things that "the lazy old men" won't, or his willingness to fight and argue to prove he is right, so these people want to lead you to believe they live a morally superior life than you do...because they actually know and actually love God, unlike you.
The truth though, is that I am more than aware of my sinfulness and inadequacy. I know that I cannot measure up to what God demands. I have pleaded with God in the past to make me perfect, only to remember Him saying, "my strength is made perfect in your weakness". I am flesh and spirit. I am not yet what I one day will be. I cannot please God in my flesh. I need redemption from this body. All this flesh knows is sin and corruption. I get it. What I also get is that God, in His great and awesome love, provided me with a Sacrifice to take away my reproach. He gave me His Holy Spirit to live within me, to lead me away from sin and toward righteousness. Sometimes I follow, sometimes I don't. I'm not proud of it, but I can't escape it.
If you think today that you are above sin, you just sinned. Maybe the mark of spiritual maturity is not the absence of any desire to sin, but rather the understanding and acceptance that when I do sin, and I will sin, that I have an advocate provided for me by the Righteous Judge who pleads on my behalf. He reminds my adversary that I am His, and He is mine. The enemy I face is the father of criticism. He tripped up Adam and Eve in the Garden and then demanded God kill them using the Law. He didn't count on the mercy and grace of God, His willingness to offer anything, including HIs own Son, to redeem them one day from this sinful flesh.
So which father do you belong to, whose son or daughter are you? The one who looks for fault in everyone and everything in order to prove your self righteousness and good works in an effort to condemn others, or the Father who looks to free folks from their self righteous prison and give them a peace that passes all understanding through the hope that He provides through salvation. You can't have it both ways, you love the one and hate the other. You can't be double minded, you'll be unstable in all your ways if so. Do you save yourself and keep yourself saved by being and doing good, or do you trust Jesus to both save you and keep you?
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.