The La Sierra University Church is a Seventh-Day Adventist Congregation, Serving Western Riverside in Southern California.

Find us at lsuchurch.org 

4937 Sierra Vista Ave
Riverside 92505

Day 26, A hard habit to break

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Breakfast,” I called from the kitchen doorway, as my husband helped our children with their school backpacks.

“Here comes Gordon,” groaned daughter Esther, who was looking out the dining room window.

“I wonder what he wants this time.” I sighed as I heard steps on the back porch. Gordon, a recent transplant to our area, had a rather annoying habit of showing up at mealtime, staying to eat, and asking for money.

A half hour later, with everyone fed and the children off to school, I sat on the back steps. “Listen, Gordon, you know you will need formula and diapers for the baby at the end of the month, not just the beginning. Surely you could put some change away in a sock on the back of the door, if nothing else. Then you’d have something to buy them with and not come asking me.” I felt entitled to give him advice.

But was I? Most of my adult life I have thought of myself as non-judgmental. When others speak negatively about a person, I often imagine good reasons why he or she might be that way and congratulate myself. God has been showing me, however, that there are times when I feel or act superior to others, and in this way I am judging them. I have set myself up as the standard—what I feel, what I know, what I do.

That is a dangerous position, and a hypocritical one, because I am ignoring the plank of my own faults and shortcomings lodged in my own eye. I was surprised at how this thought is expressed in quotes by others. Here are a few examples:

Marian Keyes:

“The things we dislike most in others are the characteristics we like least in ourselves.”

Gary Chapman:

“What we dislike in others is often a weakness in our own lives.”

Hermann Hesse:

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”

Paul told us the same thing in Romans 2:1.

“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

There’s the plank again!

When I offer suggestions, and the other person shows indifference or negativity, if I continue giving advice, I am in the hypocritical judging mode and need to stop. My motivation is what I need to watch. Am I feeling and acting like I’m better than the other person? Am I trying to build myself up by talking about her or him?

Here is where I stumble and fall. Maybe my giving advice to Gordon was not wrong, but probably my attitude of entitlement was. As a remedy I choose to let God’s Spirit perform surgery to remove the plank from my eye, so I can see clearly and use only loving concern when dealing with or talking about others. May God help us all!

Judging others
Uncovers
Defects
Guilt and perhaps
Envy in me

Necessitating an
Operation in my
Territory

—Sylvia

Day 27, On asking and answers

Day 25, Breathe