October 11, 2016
Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. – Romans 14:13
When I had to backtrack and attempt to cancel a false rumor I had helped to spread, I felt a little embarrassed. Although it had come from a source that I considered reliable, I still should have recognized and dismissed it as gossip. Even if it had been true, it certainly was not edifying!
How many of us have heard someone make a negative remark—perhaps a critical, judgmental one—about an individual we know? The speaker may even preface the statement with, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but . . .” In fact, it is likely that most of us have uttered things that would have been better left unsaid. Perhaps no harm was intended, but we cannot predict the outcome of such carelessness. Like dandelion seeds scattered in the wind, our words may travel farther than we ever expected—possibly even landing on the doorstep of the person about whom they were spoken! Whether or not our statement was true will be of little importance if it is embellished by others.
It is easy to pass along information based only on what is apparent, but often we do not see all the intricacies of others’ circumstances. Rather than speculating about someone who seems to be having a difficult time, it would be so much better to pray for that individual! Oh, for a heart like that of the compassionate Good Shepherd! When He sees trouble in someone’s life, His goal is to give hope, help, and healing. May the Lord help us to follow His example.
Dear Lord, when I am tempted
To criticize my neighbor,
Please help me to consider
There are pieces of the picture
I can’t see from where I stand.
You are the only One, Lord,
Who sees beyond our failures
And reaches down to heal us,
Shedding light, revealing to us
Hope, held in Your outstretched hand.