When I’m visiting in others’ homes, I love to look around and take it all in.
I notice furnishings and décor, often complimenting things I like and drawing inspiration. But I also notice parts obviously lacking attention, such as rooms in need of paint, worn furniture in need of repair or updating, carpets in need of cleaning, corners in need of cobweb clearing and so on.
Although there are plenty of areas under my own roof in need of attention, they have somehow become invisible to me amidst the busyness of life.
Funny how I seldom even notice these, my collected clutter and problem areas, much less concentrate my efforts on improving them. Yet these things quickly catch my eye in the homes of others.
Put another way, why is it so easy to see the speck in our brother’s eye, but not to notice the log in our own eye?
Yep, it’s easy to assess what others need to do or have done wrong. Maybe it’s even a fun sport we participate in at times.
Sitting in our easy chairs flipping through the news channels or Facebook or talking on the phone can easily become a finger-pointing, eye-squinting, “hmpf”-pronouncing judgment session.
We draw our conclusions, shake our heads and wonder why “ole so and so” doesn’t do better/differently.
After all, we would never do any of that. We would never have let things gotten so out of hand. Or would we?
In truth, I know I have plenty to do right here under my roof, and thus my time would be better spent inside rather than looking out my windows to compile a “to do” list for someone else.
There’s plenty I should clean, organize and refresh. And my husband would quickly add that there’s plenty I ought to discard.
But turning the magnifying glass onto myself and my abode isn’t a spectator sport, and it’s rarely done from an easy chair.
It’s more of a discipline, and let’s face it, I often lack discipline or turn away from it.
Yet, while I may not always enjoy discipline, I must remind myself behind it is love.
After all, the Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)
So, if God loves each of us enough to offer the gift of his son, Jesus, to cover our sins, redeem and save us, why would we not want that for others?
Do we really think God’s grace, love, mercy and forgiveness are only for us - or those we think are like us? Do we really have the gall to judge others unworthy?
When we catch ourselves plumping the pillows in our judgment chambers, may we consider both our motives and goals.
What is the outcome we hope for anyway? Do we hope for reconciliation, repentance, forgiveness, improvement and growth? Or do we hope only for punishment and payback?
To determine our attitudes, we can often look at our hands for a clue.
As we sit in judgment, are our hands clapping in delight at others’ perceived failures? Are they wringing in constant worry or despair? Are they held up in disbelief? Are they pointing blame? Or are they clasped in prayer?
No matter the supposed offense, it pains me to hear people say, “I hope he gets what he deserves” … “I hope karma bites her in the butt” … “I hope he rots in jail” … “There’s a special place in hell for people like her.”
Perhaps we are wise to watch what we wish for.
The Bible warns us, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)
At times we may wonder what God’s waiting for - why doesn’t he ride in on a lightning bolt and clean some house, wiping out all these bad people?
Again, perhaps we should watch what we wish for. When we consider our own homes and hearts, we’ll likely find ourselves thankful.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Next time we’re in our easy chairs, our device of choice to grab could be our Bible, reminding us we will each appear before the judgment seat of Christ “so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
Meanwhile, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-15)
Gina Moore, a news-editorial journalism major, has operated Marketplace Consignment Sale for 27 years and has worked part-time at Treasures. She also enjoys country cooking, reading and writing about motherhood, life on the farm and how God’s love and lessons surround residents.