"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

September 25, 2013


I recently read a quote that says, "Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others."

Most people know Matthew 7:1: "Judge not, that you be not judged." It's most often quoted when we feel as if we or a loved one have been judged unfairly. We often get on our soapbox or display our righteous indignation when this occurs to vocalize our frustration or hurt feelings.

I daresay that we have all been guilty of being on both sides of the judging coin. We have all had people form an unjust opinion about something regarding us; but we've also been the one who will look at someone or their situation and judge them, without knowing all the facts. The rule of thumb often used in judging others is personal beliefs or convictions, or an individuals personal taste or sense of rightness.

Sometimes we may think someone is judging us or saying negative words about us, when in fact, they really aren't. How many of us have ever commented, "I bet people are thinking this about me," when in fact, they really may not be thinking about us at all. But we can convince ourselves that it is so.

I will use myself as an example:

Several years ago, when I was a supervisor at my job, my office was located downstairs and everyone passed by the doorway when they went to lunch or used the employee restroom or left the building. Some days I might get a can of pop sometime during the morning or early afternoon, and most days, I would get busy with customers or phone calls or helping the employees that I supervised, and would forget to drink it and throw away a half-full can at the end of the day. There were times when I would get busy and not have time for lunch or have to take a really short lunch, so would just grab something out of the vending machine to eat while I worked. But there was one lady, who was a heavy smoker and took several smoke breaks throughout the day, who would walk by my office door when that happened and would always make a comment along the lines of, "Loretta, you are eating every time I walk by!" I knew that statement wasn't a fact! But I would start obsessing about it and think, "I bet everyone here thinks that the reason I'm overweight is because I sit at my desk and eat all day long!" Because of what one lady said, I convinced myself that everyone was thinking the same. Truth is, most people could have cared less and weren't thinking about me at all! They had more important things to concern themselves with.

My weight is something that I've battled for years, and I used to be in the bad habit of putting myself down or making jokes about myself; thinking I would speak the negative words about myself that everyone else were thinking when they looked at me. I thought if I said them first, then everyone would think it didn't bother me. What it did, was make me look insecure and of low self-esteem. Occasionally, I will still make a remark putting myself down, but I have worked to try and overcome that negative thinking. I've learned that the people who truly love and care for me do so because of my heart, not my appearance.

We all have areas in our life that needs improvement and have hurdles to overcome. At times, people will criticize others, hoping in some small way to make themselves feel better. Judging someone else and their imperfections will not make us feel better about ourselves or make us look better in our own eyes.

Truth is, unless it's a close family member or personal friend who confide in us, we often don't know all the details of someones situation to be able to judge them one way or the other. And honestly, even then, that's not our job.

James 4:12 (NIV) says, "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you -- who are you to judge your neighbor?" The New Living Translation says it this way: "God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?"

On the flip side, we often value the opinion of others far more than we should; especially when it's not someone who truly loves us and is a valued friend. Sadly, we often care much more what others are saying and thinking about us, than we value God's opinion of us. We put more effort into pleasing people than pleasing God.

When we pay heed to the words that I began this devotional with, we will find ourselves spiritually stronger and happier. When we begin to allow God to refine and improve us, we will be kept so busy working on our own imperfections and weaknesses that we won't have time to criticize and judge others. In fact, chances are that we will see that we need too much work ourselves to condemn others and point our fingers elsewhere.

Matthew 7:3-5 says it best: (New Living Translation) "Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye."


I suspect one of the most common reasons to focus on what's wrong with someone else is so we might say, "I know I keep sinning, but at least I'm not like them." That might feel better. But considering someone else's sins to be worse doesn't make your sins okay. I can't say I never think like that. I'm not perfect. But at least I hope I'm better than I was years ago.



(Also called no-bake cookies. These are my very favorite cookies!)

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 stick butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

4 Tablespoons cocoa

Mix sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. When mixture reaches a full rolling boil, boil for 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well blended. Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper and allow to cool.


My nephew's wife teaches a Sunday School class for small children. This past Sunday she was teaching and one of the boys kept begging her to tell the story about jambalaya, saying that he loved that story. She finally figured out that he was talking about Goliath, and wanted her to tell the story of David and Goliath.


He who talks without thinking runs more risks than he who thinks without talking. - unknown


We love you!

Loretta & Jon