Matt 7:1-5 “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 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.”
We have a good friend in a heap of trouble right now. I mean, a heap. He’s on a two-week countdown before the sentencing phase of his trial. Two weeks until a court determines how many years a federal prison will separate him from his wife and young children. He’s endured months of media attention. He’s lost his job and his medical license. He moved his family in hopes of safeguarding them from public scorn and talk, and he will face certain deportation from the US after being released in five years or ten years or fifteen years.
So, he’s in trouble. He made some choices just a couple of years ago that will affect his family forever. And the irony is that while these isolated events brought deep and significant and unalterable consequences, his offense was built on a few short-lived actions, not a pattern of behavior. But when our friend was caught, his influence and wealth and prominence solicited for him increased attention and punishment.
It breaks my heart to see this family suffer. It’s unbearable that these impetuous, foolish choices abolished his freedom and access to his kids and wife and life as he knows it. I know he is a man of character, a man of God, and a man who could not love his family any more fully. His wife is sticking by his side.
And yet at dinner just a few nights ago, we sat across the table from another couple who took several jabs at our friend throughout our conversation. Because they are “new” friends to me, I held my tongue. Barely.
The criticism is unbearable. This couple was not hurt in the process of our friend’s crime, not even affected. Just makes for a good laugh, right?
They don’t know that our friend’s parents were among the first missionaries to Thailand and have been serving Christ there for thirty years now. They are unaware that he and his wife persevered to teach their kids at home in a conservative, loving and steady environment. They forget that this man exemplified integrity and consistency and faithfulness. His wife and children and extended family grieve with him and provide incredible support.
At dinner the other night, I felt protective and angry and defensive hearing the ugly comments. Who are these people to gloat in ignorance of another’s situation, to utter harsh gossip against our friend? No situation is one-dimensional. No person deserves another’s scorn.
But here’s the deal. The very thing that angers me – a judgmental attitude – is the same attitude now coursing through my thoughts in regards to these “new” friends. I sense my own judgment seeping out to this couple we ate dinner with, thus continuing the spiral. What to do?
Looking back at Scripture, Jesus’ command is simple: Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
Lord, help me to see others through your eyes, through Holy Spirit-infused lenses. Remind me that you alone are the judge and that you don’t need my help in this area! I love you and trust you, Father.