Jehu had proven to be one “zealous” king. God sent him to destroy the wicked house of Ahab and the worship of Baal, and he did so with a fury.  The zeal with which he struck down Ahab and his family and destroyed the prophets of Baal is truly remarkable.  But then we read in verse 31 of Chapter 10,”But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.”  God, therefore, cut off his house just as he did Ahab’s.

This kind of zeal is frequently seen in those who violently attack one kind of sin, while  they themselves are secretly indulging in some other sin. Such people are usually not only intolerant of the sin, but also of the sinner, while true zeal makes one infinitely tender and patient toward the sinner, while absolutely uncompromising with his sin. It’s often to be zealous against others’ sins and yet remain tolerant of our own. With good intentions we often do more harm than good.

In our backyard in Michigan back in 1978 we had a wishing well with a large tank in which we put ten goldfish. One hot summer day, Kathy decided to clean out the tank. She put the fish in a bowl while she scrubbed the tank clean with soap and ammonia! Then she put the fish back in the tank. (I wonder if she’ll read this!) Guess what happened to the fish? Right! All ten of them died in the first couple hours back in the tank. We had the hardest time figuring it out! It was the chemicals that did it!

Sometimes in our zeal to clean up the lives of others, we unfortunately use “?killer soaps?”—condemnation, criticism, nagging, fits of temper.  We think we’re doing right, but our harsh, self-righteous treatment is more than they can bear.

Jesus asked the religious leaders who were extremely zealous for the sins of others, “Why do you strive to remove the sliver from the eyes of others, while the telephone pole in your own eyes remains fixed?”

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)