“If you want to avoid judgment, stop passing judgment. Your verdict on others will be the verdict passed on you. The measure with which you measure will be used to measure you. Why look at the speck in your brother’s or sister’s eye when you miss the plank in your own?” Matthew 7:1-3
In her book Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World, Rebecca Pippert, tells the story of her arrival in Portland, Oregon, where she met Bill, one of the students on the campus where she served. He was a brilliant young man with messy hair and, as she recalls, he never wore shoes. Judging him from his appearance, you might assume he was a little strange, but once people got to know him, he was absolutely wonderful.
One day Bill attended a church across the street from the campus. This church was filled to capacity with a well-dressed congregation. Bill, of course, wore his usual attire: tattered jeans, tee shirt, and, no shoes.
The congregation looked uncomfortable, but no one said anything or moved over as Bill walked down the aisle looking for a seat. Bill walked up to the front pew, still not finding a seat. So, he did what seemed logical to him: he sat down on the carpet in the middle of the aisle. This was, after all, the same way he sat when he and his friends met for Bible study. He casually crossed his legs and waited for the service to begin.
The tension was palpable as people murmured, craning their necks to see the stranger in the aisle.
Then an elderly gentleman, a man who was well-respected in the church, began walking down the aisle toward the student. Some whispered to each other, “Well, you can’t exactly blame him for scolding the guy . . . he is a disruption to the service!”
As the well-groomed man neared Bill, the church grew quiet. All eyes were glued front and center to see what would happen next. With some difficulty, the old man lowered himself to the floor and sat down next to Bill. He crossed his legs and shared his hymnal with the college-aged boy.
The congregation was stunned. That Sunday the elderly man not only worshiped there on the floor, but he reminded the congregation how to worship.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get so caught up in doing what we think Jesus asks us to do, we too easily slip into judging others who are doing things differently. But we know Jesus didn’t command us to judge each other–He commanded us to love each other. It is pure and simple: Love one another.
And that is a wonderful way to worship.
Watering the Seeds
Think of a time when you fell into judging someone, instead of loving them.
How did you handle the situation? Is there anything you wish you had done differently?