Last night, I was reffing a junior high basketball game, and in the stands was that obnoxious dad. Every time I ran by the stands he decided he needed to help me do my job. “That was a travel,” he points out. “She is carrying the ball. That’s a foul!” Let me repeat…every time. I’m used to that kind of behavior from parents, but what I still can’t wrap my mind around is the fact that they are oblivious to what infractions their kids make. Did he not see his kid take a little step? His precious all-star (and I use that term very lightly) just plowed over another player, but this guy is yelling at the tap his kid received. I’m just thinking, how can parents be so blind??
In actuality, it’s not just these parents that are like that. It’s all of us that are blinded by our own short comings, but are quick to point out someone else’s. Maybe we don’t yell out all the ways that our friends and family members are falling short, in front of a crowd of people, but we think it and sometimes we point it out to that person.
I found this list that depicts how we can be overly critical of someone for the same acts that we are guilty of. Strike a cord with anyone?
You lose your temper; I have righteous anger.
You’re a jerk; I’m having a bad day.
You have a critical spirit; I bluntly tell the truth.
You gossip; I share prayer requests.
You curse and swear; I let off steam.
You’re pushy; I’m intensely goal-oriented.
You’re greedy; I’m simply taking care of business.
You’re a hypochondriac; but I’m really sick.
You stink; I merely have an “earthy aroma”.
I’ll admit that I have been guilty of a few of those listed. God must have known that we would have this tendency because He left us this scripture.
“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.” (Matthew 7:4-5)
Before we ever approach someone else, we first need to deal with ourselves. Once we do, we will be able to discern the situation more clearly, and we will probably see that our criticism is not needed. There are times when we may need to approach someone about their behavior, but typically that is the exception and not the rule. One of the reasons for this is that we don’t know the heart of another person…only God knows that. We don’t know what they have been through, we don’t know their circumstances, so our judgments will more than likely miss the mark.
Instead of trying to change others, we should worry about changing ourselves. Our life is, after all, a work in progress and the changes you make usually inspire others to change. Plus, you know what they say about pointing a finger…
“When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that three of his fingers are pointing at himself.”