Friday, October 5, 2012

Judge Not Lest...

“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you" -Matt. 7:2
I was humbled again the other day. As a matter of fact, I was humbled twice in a big way. And for someone like me that has always battled pride, humility is a very good thing. One of the worst manifestations of pride is a judgmental heart. It's usually hidden away, so no one directly sees it, but the judgment is there, and God knows it. We can talk compassion and forgiveness all day long, but unless our kids see it lived out in our lives, they'll grab the baton of judgment from us and continue the curse. People that text and drive make me angry. The idea of someone being selfish enough to risk my life for a text is beyond me. What message could be important enough to justify distracted driving? Mature people put the phone away and drive responsibly. A few weeks ago, I was driving through my neighborhood and heard the buzz on my phone signaling an incoming text. I glanced down and read it. When I looked up, I was veering into the other lane with a car coming straight towards me. I swerved back into my lane and stopped while the other car drove by. My heart sank as I realized what I had done. The very act I despised in others I did myself. Like that guy on TV that caused the horrible wreck by texting and was sent to prison, I too had acted irresponsibly. I won't be going to prison, but I'm no better than that gentleman paying his "debt to society." Truth is, I'm no better than any man in society. I'm only OK because of God's willingness to make things right with me by sending His son Jesus to the Cross to die for my sin. That's the problem with judging. It always claims to make us better than others but Romans 3:23 reminds us "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Today, I was driving down highway 76, through the middle of Branson, when I came upon a red light. I approached an old pickup truck in the left lane. Both men were a bit "unkept" and the driver was smoking. My first thought was to roll my window up because I didn't want smoke in my car. Then, as I pulled up next to the truck, I was stunned. The passenger in the truck was taking time to read his Bible while they waited at the red light. He even looked like he was reading to the driver (see picture). I'd done it again. I drew an instant conclusion about two people, which was less than loving. Of course, I don't know these men, so I can't give testimony to their lives. But that's not the point. The point is that I'm not to judge. When I saw this man reading his Bible, my heart sunk. I was embarrassed and ashamed. But I prayed for forgiveness and again, confessed my need for God's mercy. Thankfully, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin" (1 John 1:9). So I move on and I learn. It's so easy for us to be judgmental. It's easy for us to critique a person's looks or their background and draw conclusions that are less than loving and always inaccurate. I think it's true that the faults we see in others are the faults we see in ourselves. We're quick to dismiss our own shortcomings while pouncing on those same faults in others. Better to see our brothers and sisters and draw conclusions that are loving and graceful. That's the example that Jesus left for us. None of us need to throw stones. Instead, we need to look for the best in people. Whether they're reading their Bibles or not. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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