A church bulletin had a clever poem about criticism that began:
A little seed lay in the ground
And soon began to sprout;
“Now, which of all the flowers around,
Shall I,” it mused, “come out?”
The seed could then be heard saying, “I don’t care to be a rose. It has thorns. I have no desire to be a lily. It’s too colorless. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be a violet. It’s too small, and it grows too close to the ground.”
The poem concludes with this verse about the faultfinding seed:
And so it criticized each flower,
That supercilious seed,
Until it woke one summer hour
And found itself a weed!
Do you agree that the root of all criticism is pride? Are there exceptions?
Middle School children were playing in a volleyball tournament. They had an early game at 8:00 AM and the next one was not until 11:00 AM. One of the parents volunteered to take everybody to breakfast at her restaurant. There were about six or eight couples and children. The food was served cafeteria style. They got in line with the other people who were at the restaurant that morning. Some were the invited guests and some were paying guests.
The parent who invited her friends positioned herself next to the cash register and as each one passed in front of her she would tell the girl at the cash register that those she had invited did not have to pay because they were with her. The cost of each meal was still entered into the computer, but that they did not have to pay. Others who did not know her, however, had to pay.
What they experienced that morning is what each person will experience at judgment. Each one will stand before the owner of the universe and those who know Him will be given eternal life, but those who do not know Him will pay the full price of their sins.
Can you think of a better example of grace?
During his years as mayor of New York City, Fiorello La Guardia sometimes presided as judge in a night court. In one case, a man was found guilty of stealing a loaf of bread. He pleaded that he had committed that theft to feed his starving family.
“The law is the law,” La Guardia declared. “I must therefore fine you $10.” When the man sadly confessed that he had no money, the judge took $10 out of his wallet and paid the fine. He also asked each person in the courtroom to contribute 50 cents to help the man.
Have you ever seen such generosity in your world?
A man was having difficulty communicating with his wife and concluded that she was becoming hard of hearing. So he decided to conduct a test without her knowing about it.
One evening he sat in a chair on the far side of the room. Her back was to him and she could not see him. Very quietly he whispered, “Can you hear me?” There was no response.
Moving a little closer, he asked again, “Can you hear me now?” Still no reply.
Quietly he edged closer and whispered the same words, but still no answer.
Finally he moved right in behind her chair and said, “Can you hear me now?” To his surprise and chagrin she responded with irritation in her voice, “For the fourth time, yes! What a warning to us about judging.
A pastor was visiting one of his parishioners, and as they were talking, the conversation began to lag. The lady of the house, wanting to pick up the conversation, pointed out her window to her neighbor’s back yard where the wash was hanging on the line. She said: “See that lady next door and the wash she hangs out, see how dirty it is; she never hangs out clean wash.”
The pastor felt somewhat uncomfortable and tried to change the subject and quickly drew the visit to a close. As he was departing from the house the lady of the house walked out on the front porch with him and again the wash next door was clearly visible to them. They both realized at the same time that this wash was sparkling white, just as white as any wash could ever be. The truth began to dawn on them that it was not the neighbor’s wash which was dirty, rather it was the window through which they viewed the wash.
This week we’re going to talk about judging. This neighbor lady passed a judgment on her neighbor through her own eyes, which were faulty, like the man in Jesus’s parable who tried to extract the splinter from his neighbor’s eye while he had a beam in his own eye. Have you ever judged someone and later found out your standard was faulty?