Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? Are you critical of others? If so, do you have any idea how you learned to be so critical? Did you know that God doesn’t retaliate when we criticize others, but he does practice retribution in the sense that our criticism may be retributed in full measure to us?
My friend, lifes a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
When I was a kid growing up on a block with a number of other boys around my age, there were often occasions for conflict. It seldom got physical since these were friends by day and merely enemies by the moment. Tomorrow or the next day the conflict would be forgotten, but a bloody nose or black eye lasted a while. A misdeed or misspoken word, nonetheless, could evoke a dare, a cross-eyed stare or, worse yet, an epithet. Name calling was a common method for dealing with boyhood wrongs. Since none of us were allowed to swear, insults were creative. “Dip-wad!” was one I remember well. “Crap-head!” was borderline cussing, so that one could get us into trouble and was usually reserved for egregious transgressions. Normally insults were limited to the run-of-the-mill “Big Dope” or “Bone-head.” These were safe insults and could be uttered within the hearing of an adult, usually only resulting in an intervention but no real punishment. When insults were launched in those days the customary and expected response was, “I know you are, but what am I?” This crafty rejoinder turned the insult back on your foe and left him reeling for a retort. Normally the plaintiff would run out of appropriate insults and move on. This little tactic worked well since if he resorted to a worse insult he knew it would be heaped back on him, so what was the use? It was better to move on or call a time-out at this point.
Strange how that boyhood rejoinder has stuck with me over the years. Perhaps it’s because it says a lot about why we shouldn’t judge others since when we do we’re qualifying our judgment based on what we can only know by experience. We judge others so because we’re able to commit the same misdeed ourselves. “I know you are, but what am I?”
Here’s a story. A bishop was sailing for Europe on an ocean liner. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was sharing his cabin. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser's desk and inquired if he could leave his valuables in the ship’s safe. He explained that ordinarily he never did this, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be trustworthy. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, “It’s all right, bishop, I’ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!” (Source unknown)
In Matthew 7:2 Jesus states: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured.” When as little boys we heaped insults on one another, boyhood justice required that a good insult traveled both ways. It took a Dip-wad to know a Dip-wad. Although it didn’t stop the invectives, it blunted them. The bishop in today’s story found that it takes a scoundrel perhaps to know a scoundrel? The rule here is quite simple then. If you don’t want to be a Dip-wad, don’t criticize others as such. Don’t trust others? Perhaps trust is a problem in your life as well. God doesn’t retaliate when we criticize others, but he does practice retribution in the sense that our criticism may be retributed in full measure to us. It’s always best to reserve judgment for God and keep our lips sealed.
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We pray. Thank you Lord for heaping our guilt and sin on Jesus Christ and not holding it to our account. Forgive us Father when, failing to be reminded by his sacrifice, we judge others. May we always be mindful that we will be judged in return for the judgment we mete out to others. May our measure of judgment always error on the side of forgiveness and mercy forgoing criticism that will only return to remind us of our sin. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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