Don't judge others or you will be judged. In whatever way you judge others, that is how you will be judged. Why do you look at the tiny bit of sawdust in your friend's eye when you have a big stick of wood in your own eye? Get yourself right before you try to fix someone else. (Not a quote of Matthew 7:1-5 but my own personal retelling.)
When this scripture was being read this morning, I was thinking of the woman behind me, "I hope she's hearing this and taking it to heart. She is so judgmental, always criticizing..." oops! Was that me being called a hypocrite? I have a lot of rough edges to take care of before I start polishing those around me.
The preacher told a story about going to a youth meeting with another pastor. They stopped to eat dinner, Patrick (my preacher) bit into a burrito and the end of it exploded on his shirt. His friend took a picture of Patrick and his stained shirt with his iphone, uploaded it to facebook and by the time they got to the meeting, everyone was laughing and giving Patrick a hard time. Technology puts us out there, ready or not, to be criticized. I thought of my NaBlo friends and how we tend to tell it all. Has anyone ever felt criticized for that?
My job at the public library has helped me to not judge strangers. I'm there to help them so I can't be critical. I treat everyone the same: the young man with so many facial piercings that he looks like he is wearing a metal mask, the overweight woman with the stretch hot pants and tight tank top, the homeless man who hasn't bathed recently, teenagers whose frontal lobes haven't yet fully formed, people from foreign countries who don't speak English well, students who haven't a clue what they are doing in the library, frustrated or angry people; whoever it is, I treat them the same. Their problem, their need is important to me and I will do what I can to help them. I want to give them a glimpse of God, if I can.
Back in my pew at church, my friend behind me doesn't need me to connect with God. She has her own direct connection. We are polar opposites in many ways (Harry Potter, Muslims, the purpose of worship, to mention a few) but probably agree on the basic core issues. And we both need to work on judging others.
The final verse of today's sermon, Matthew 7:12: Treat other people the way you want to be treated. That sums it all up. (In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Laws and the Prophets.)
Easier said than done.