Ok, let’s get back in our cars and take a test drive today. It’s time for ROAD GRACE, that wonderful experience on the highways of life that teach us about what it means to follow the Master Jesus in the journey of faith.
If you have been following ‘Road Grace’ you have come to realize that driving offers a school of experience in which to practice the graces of the Christian life. Today’s lesson is about ‘judging’. You may recall Jesus’ words on this subject from the Sermon on the Mount where he plainly says to the students he has collected, “Don’t judge others, or you will be judged. 2 You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.3 “Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend’s eye, but you don’t notice the big piece of wood in your own eye? (Matthew 7:1-3 New Century Version)
So, how do you feel about people talking on their cellphones, drifting off their lane?If you are like me you think, ‘What a jerk’. What about the guy who rushes up on the right shoulder so that he can get ahead of the traffic? What a selfish so and so. We form opinions pretty quickly out there on the roadways. Those ‘rich folks’ drive their fancy cars. Over in the other lane are a bunch of no doubt rowdy kids looking for trouble. And how about those trucks that are so high off the ground you need a ladder just to get into the driver’s seat? How stupid. All kinds of thoughts dart in and out of your mind as you watch other drivers, their style, their appearance, their speed and if you are like me you often find yourself quick to judge that ‘other’ person.
It’s not much different in the journey with Jesus. His instructions make it clear to the disciples, his students, that to judge someone is to find fault with them and thereby set us over and above them. Judging comes from pride. It’s what the Pharisee did to the tax collector in Jesus’ parable, not knowing anything about the heart of that publican. It’s what we do on the highways and in personal relationships that comes from our own pride. We judge by other’s actions, words, lifestyle without ever knowing what is in their hearts. This might not be such a big deal on the highway but in real life situations and relationships it is most damaging. We dismiss if not destroy another’s character when we should be more closely looking into our own hearts for those hints of pride and prejudice. Judgment comes from an inflated sense of self. And in judging we do not let God be sovereign. Let God do that work in us that needs to be done to build our character without tearing down another’s.
Out there on the highway we have the opportunity to practice in a sometimes-humorous way the disciplines and graces we need in all relationships with others and with God. So when you see another person looking or doing something that is ‘not quite right’ remember to say to yourself, ‘Move over ego and let the Master drive this automobile. Think of one person in your life about whom you make judgments and for a moment in prayer ask God’s forgiveness and pray that God will bless that other person. You will thus open your soul to a wealth of love and forgiveness from God.