Monday, January 4

Respecting Each Other's Attributes

Maybe one of today's worst reactions is a self-destructive tendency that needs to be checked as a hypocritical, judgmental attitude that tears down in order to build oneself up. Jesus is not giving a blanket statement to be naive toward others in Matthew 7: 1-5. He is not telling us to overlook wrong behavior just for the sake of tolerance. Jesus knew that the Pharisees dominated the religious landscape of His day with their judgmental attitudes. Today His words of warning against judging are even more needed in a world of angry, critical, destructive and cynical thinking.

Some people make judging others their specialty. According to some century-old church records, a congregation in a small Midwestern town in the United States appointed two officers in the church and gave them the titles of "Pointer" and "Beaner". They each had a special responsibility during the Sunday sermons.

The duty of Pointer was to call out the names of those in the congregation who needed to take particular note of the sermon. Beaner's task was to sit in the choir loft with a bean shooter and awaken drowsy attenders with a well-aimed bean. Who would want to attend that church???

Jesus warned about the danger of pointing out the faults of others. He said people with planks in their eyes should not attempt to remove specks out of other people's eyes. He challenged his hearers to choose humility rather than hypocrisy by always applying the truth to themselves before noting the faults in others.

Jesus knew that our speech reveals the true underlying beliefs, attitudes and motivations of our being. If people are judgmental and unforgiving they reveal a prideful Pharisaical attitude that is displeasing to God. Do not associate with such people who are given to anger and constant gossip or you will become like them.

I recently read an article identifying groups of people in the business world by generational labels. Labels such as "Baby Boomers", "Gen X", "Gen Y", and "Millennial". These type of labels immediately stereotype opinions of work behavior and work ethic. Instead of appreciating their individual attributes that each brings to the table we tend to look at these people through the lens of generational labels.

Don't we do the very same thing in our churches today? We look at, (judge) others and form opinions about each individual when they don't measure up to the standards we have set for them as Christians. We tend to think other Christians should think and act just like we do. When we criticise others because they are not doing everything exactly as we think they should as Christians, we are merely focusing on ourselves. Each person brings their own strengths and weaknesses. We need to learn to give people the benefit of the doubt. Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent and admirable, think on these things. Look more at the 50% of the jar that is full and positive instead of the 50% that is negative or empty.

We should never judge motives of another person because we are not walking in their shoes. Respect them. God has wired each of us in a very unique way. Look for opportunities to reach out to those who may be struggling in their walk with the Lord. Come alongside them as a friend and offer a word of encouragement. Instead of condemning them pray for them daily. Show them God's love.

Blessings!

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