For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:2-6 (NIV)
It drives me crazy when my kids lose something important. “Where are your shoes?” “I don’t know.” When they were little, those words signaled the beginning of a hunt as I searched under couches and beds. From there, I moved to the car. As my frustration grew so did the volume of my complaints. Muttering under my breath became a full fledged rant. “I don’t know why you can’t be more responsible. Pay attention to what you are doing. This is ridiculous. I am going to be late for WORK!” Then, a little voice said, “I think they are at grandma’s.” We’d jump in the car and tear grandma’s house apart, finally locating the lost shoes and race to start our day. It always left my heart racing and my mind in shambles. To top it off, I started remembering the ugly things I said after I dropped them off at school. I was glad when they got old enough to carry cell phones so I could call and leave a message of apology for them to retrieve later. That is if they have not lost their cell phones. They are almost grown now, but we still go through the drill occasionally. Just a few weeks ago, my younger son could not find his belt. Wisely, he looked all over the house for it before dragging me into the search. Despite many years of practice in trying to do it right, I quickly reverted to my old patterns of yelling and frantic rushing around. He decided it would be better just to go on to school and hope that he didn’t get caught without a belt. I agreed, knowing the right thing to do is to put the responsibility back on him instead of assuming it myself. Sure enough, he got caught and had to buy a new belt from the school store. Lesson learned? Or maybe, now we just have two belts to lose because we found the first one. This morning, we were late for car pool. Why? Because I lost my belt! I searched high and low and could not find it. I was about to give up and go beltless knowing I would be reaching down to pull my pants up all day long, when there, peeking out from the shelve in my closet was my belt. Why couldn’t I remember where I had left it last? Why was I so irresponsible? We were going to be late for car pool! Did my child fling my well rehearsed words back at me? No, he sat down on the couch and went back to sleep. But it did make me think about the verses above. Before we start criticizing someone else for their mistakes and bad habits, we need to take a look at our own life and problems. Belts and shoes get lost and found everyday. The condition of our hearts is a more important matter. Search your own today. Shoes can wait.