WE may derive much evil or much good from the falls of others. We may derive much evil from their falls if we follow their bad example, or if our pride suggests to us that we are better than they are. It is an evil thing for a man to look upon his fallen brother and then to say, in the spirit of the Pharisee, “God, I thank You that I am not such a sinner as that man is.” This kind of spirit would make it very probable that we should yet become even worse than the poor fallen one.
But, on the other hand, much good may come to us through the falls of others if the moment we see or hear of the falling of our brethren, we reflect that we would have done the same if we had not been upheld by God—that all the evil that has come out of them might also have come out of us, for it is in every one of us by nature. Unless God’s restraining hand shall prevent its being displayed, it will be displayed in our life as well as in theirs! Every wreck ought to be a beacon. One man’s fall should be another’s warning. Do you see your brother’s foot trip against a stone?
Then take care how you go along that way. Do you see him yield to temptation? Then mind that your ears are closed against that which fascinated him and turned him aside from the right path. Wherein you see that he failed in anything, set a double guard upon yourself just there—and ask God to give you Grace to keep you with special keeping in that particular point which was his weakness and which may, unknown to yourself, be also your own