Galatians 6:4-5 – Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. (NIV)
During the summer when I walk to our city park, I take bags and a grabber to pick up trash along the side of the road. As I pick up plastic drink bottles, straws, miniature liquor bottles, and assorted other trash, I mutter about "those people" who carelessly throw these items out of their cars to litter the roadside.
When it's time to take my own trash to the dumpster in the recreational vehicle park, I usually pull the thirty-gallon bag out of the trash can, set it on the trunk of my car, and drive the short distance. Unfortunately, I also have the habit of thinking about too many things at once. One day, as I drove away from my recreational vehicle, I immediately forgot about that bag. Imagine my chagrin when I returned home about twenty minutes later to find that large bag of trash sitting in the middle of the street, pieces of trash spilling from the hole ripped in its side. It had fallen off the back of my car as soon as I turned out onto the main street from my neighbourhood. I was one of "those people"!
Matthew 7:1-5 – Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (NKJV)
Like the scribes and Pharisees who brought the adulterous women to Jesus, my sin prevents me from casting the first stone. Like that bag of trash in the middle of the street, the plank in my own eye is too big to ignore.
Galatians 5:14 – For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (ESV)
Throwing litter out of cars is a minor issue, but if you're like me, you make judgments about all sorts of behaviours. What can we do to stop these judgmental thoughts? Study the Scriptures — it's clear that God does not look on this as a desirable behaviour. Instead of judging, let us show Christian love for "those people": pray, both for them and for ourselves, that we will think God's thoughts, not our own.
Prayer: Father, keep our thoughts clean and pure. Help us to love others instead of criticizing or judging them. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Count Your Blessings" (Lyrics)