Sheesh. I have been looking for a reading on “Soaking” in one of my books for about a half hour. I know it’s in there. I simply can’t find it, which stinks, because I have been hoarding this topic for about 6 years and thought it was finally going to be put on “paper”. Well, not today, it isn’t. Just as my brain and my patience were ready to short-circuit, it occurred to me that maybe this is not what I am supposed to write about. I usually make that decision based on things I read that day, how God is speaking to me and more often than not, what I am struggling with. This leads me to the topic for today; judgmentalism. But first, join me on one of my rabbit trails (also known as “heather’s crazy but eventually-applicable-to real-life lines of thought”). It’s about dinosaurs.
When my oldest son, Berkeley, was born, he was the first grandchild on BOTH sides our families. This led to Blake and me (as first time, underqualified and over-involved parents) and all the grandparents (by definition: completely smitten) doing basically anything Berkeley wanted whenever he wanted us to do it. He was, and is, an extremely creative and inventive kid, so, we just never had the heart to break it to him that a spaceship made from tin foil, boxes, tape and a number of other hard to find house-hold items, would never actually blast off. We just gathered the materials and started building. We spent hours under the dining room table (grandparents were no exception) making forts and castles and bunkers. We also were required, per my 3 year old’s orders, that we learn to identify, properly pronounce, and give at least 3 facts about pretty much every dinosaur that’s been discovered. I am not exaggerating. He would line up his plastic dinosaurs, all 20 or 30 of them, and quiz us. In my “training” I learned that even though they both are big flying dinosaurs, that a Pterodactyl ˌ(ter-ə-ˈdak-təl) and a Pteranodon (tərˈranəˌdän) are actually NOT the same thing? Who knew? Before my Enlightenment, I had exactly 2 categories for dinosaurs: if it was a carnivore ( it ate meat, like animals and people, if they were around), it was a T-Rex. If it was an herbivore (it was safe and nice and ate only plants), it was a Brontosaurus (which is technically a Brachiosaur, if we want to be accurate). After all my quizzing, my vast knowledge of the Jurrasic World was stellar. So much so, that one day I noticed something peculiar about my reaction to a parent at Berkeley’s pre-school. I over-heard a mom just massacring the pronunciation of the dinosaurs her child was playing with. She was calling the Pteranodon a Pteradactyl, AND pronouncing the “P”!! She kept telling him to make the T-rex and the Parasaurolophus (par-ah-SAWR-OL-uh-fus) play nicely together (like THAT would ever happen in real life!). And don’t even get me started on her lack of knowledge on the the most basic dinosaur facts like how they looked when they walked, what color they were and if they ran on two legs or four. Her ignorance was astounding. Even my 3 yr old knows that!
My superior attitude on this caught me off guard. Really? I was judging this mom based on her lack of Dino-Trivia? Of course, I use this humorous story because the other stories in which I have been judgmental are much uglier. Not silly. Not funny at all. You may have heard the verse from Matthew 7:1-3,5; “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 (log) 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 brothers’ eye.” Ok. So here’s what you do if you would like to start the process of judging someone else’s behavior, 1. Be ok with the fact that however you choose to “look upon” others, will be how others will “look upon” you and 2. Start hacking away at the big ol’ log in your eye and maybe, just maybe, it will one day get small enough for you to see clearly that tiny particle of wood in your brother’s eye. Here’s what I think God is trying to get us to hear about judging; Don’t do it. These verses are a way of saying, “as soon as you are perfect, feel free to point out someone else’s flaws/sins.” I think My buddy Oswald Chambers says it best (p.169):
“Stop having a measuring rod for other people. There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing. The first thing God does is to give us a spiritual spring-cleaning; there is no possibility of pride left in a man after that. I have never met the man I could despair of after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God. ”
Given a different set of circumstances, any of us have potential to do “very bad things”. It is only by God’s grace that we aren’t doing them (or at least those specific ones. God seems to think we might have a few of our own defects to whittle away at). Once we see that we are all a broken, sinful, prone to selfishness people and that we are all in this together, we can relax and get back to the business of doing our “job”: Love God. Love people (in case you’ve forgotten).