A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were leaving our house to go to lunch with our kids. As I was walking out to the car I was embarrassed at how overgrown my yard had gotten. Having a child at the end of April and then having a job that gets busier in the summertime means that my yard gets neglected the most. It was in pretty bad shape that day. I quickly scanned the neighborhood to see if there were any neighbors who were looking disdainfully my way. No one. I hurried to my car and got in before anyone could come out and say something.
We pulled out of our driveway and were heading down the street. That's when we passed the doctor's house. I'm kind of ashamed to say that I don't know the name of many people on my street. So my wife and I give nick names to the people who live near us. (sad I know.) This guy is a doctor. So he is "doctor guy".
As I drove past "Doctor Guys" house I noticed something wonderful. Something amazing. Something simply breathtaking. His grass was higher than mine! Oh the joy!! I wasn't the worst yard on the street...my yard wasn't nearly as bad as "Doctor Guy"'s yard. I even said something like that.
"Look, our yard isn't nearly as bad as his yard. And he's a doctor!" - I'm not sure why I said that. I mean does being a doctor grant you some kind of gardening prowess that other professions just don't have??
I can't remember exactly what my wife said but it was something like. "You know that what you just said is really messed up, right?
I knew it was messed up, but for a second I felt better about myself because someone else fell short.
I think that humans fall victim to this all the time. We look at our lives and we aren't completely happy with where we are. We see sin in our lives that is pretty bad. We feel guilty about it and then out of no where we run into someone who has a worse life than we do! We run into someone who sins so much more than we do.
and we feel better about ourselves. I'm not as bad as that guy. Her sin is worse than mine.
In the words of my wife; "You know that's messed up right?"
When we continue to think this way a couple of things happen...
1. We sell short the grace of Jesus Christ. - The truth of the matter is that we are ALL sinners. We ALL make mistakes. We ALL fall short of the what God designed for us. There's a key word there, did you catch it? ALL. Jesus Christ died for us all. He died to take on ALL of our sin. For me to say that my sin is better than someone else's is like me saying that I need Christ less than them. Essentially because their sin is worse than mine, they need Jesus more than me. That defeats what Jesus did when he died on the cross. You need Christ no matter how messed up your life is. Billy Graham needs Christ. Osama Bin Laden needs Christ. whoa, it's weird putting those into the same post....which I guess proves my point.....
2. We lose focus on where our lives need work- If I feel like I can get away without doing yard work...I'll try to get away with it. If I feel that someone else's sin is worse than mine it sort of gives me permission to sin more. I mean I'm just envying this guy because of his sweet car. He sells crack. I'll never be as bad as him and so I'll keep envying away (now I have Billy Graham and crack selling in the same post. I'm not sure if I should be proud or sad) Anyways...When our eyes are constantly judging others, we don't ever look at ourselves and as a result we never grow closer to God.
It's weird to say something and immediately know that it was wrong. After my wife so kindly told me that my thought was messed up, I knew it was true. But part of me still felt OK. The craziest part of the story is that we went to lunch and came home two hours later. As I drove up the street I looked to "Doctor Guy's" house. Much to my horror, his yard had been cut, weeded, and cleaned in the time that we were gone. In my time of judging him and his yard, he had taken the initiative to change it. I think you can guess the life lesson here.
Do you ever jump to judge others? (i'm guessing this will be rhetorical as most people don't readily admit this to comment on it!)