You have likely heard the phrase, ‘Don’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.’  Well, if we all did a little more walking and a lot less talking, maybe we would be better off.  It is easy for us to criticize, judge, and condemn people because they made a mistake, or didn’t do something the way you do, are of a different political party, or look different from you.  Just ask any armchair quarterback how the refs screwed up or what play the coach should have made.  We can all be geniuses with hindsight.  Sometimes constructive criticism can be helpful if it makes someone aware of the damage they are doing to themselves or others, but that may be the only case, and it doesn’t often work.  How do you feel when someone speaks negatively about you, your job, your family, your faith, or anything about you?  Not good.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  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?   Matthew 7:1-3

So, for the past 13 days, I’ve been playing solo parent with 3 kids still in diapers.  With schools canceling more than not the past 10 days, I’ve been cooped up at home from 6 am till 10-11 pm without much more than a 5 minute break through the day.  I once had 2 kids napping during the same 30 minute period, which was nice.  I’ve had all the kids days at a time before, but not for this long, as my wife is doing a 2 week tour.  Anyway, I can better appreciate what a single parent has to deal with on an every day basis and without support of friends or family, am not sure how some do it.  I heard a story this past week about a single parent who worked a minimum wage job, and without supports like WIC, EBT, and Medicaid, would not be able to afford much of what is needed on a day-to-day basis for very long.  I know it is easy to criticize some on the taxpayer’s welfare dollar, but honestly, I can understand why someone would choose to do it, if an option.  I still don’t fully understand how my parents managed with 6 kids.  Maybe we helped out – no, not really, but there were probably stretches where we kept out of trouble.  What can I do now to help out a family that is struggling? 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:24-25

Whenever I can, I tell teenagers to do a variety of jobs while they are young.  It may help them find a career they will like, or if not, and you don’t like a job, you can better appreciate those who are doing it on a daily basis.  If a kid in school who didn’t respect his/her teachers had to get up and teach something for 30 minutes, they might have more respect.  So, we may never fully understand what the people we meet each day have to deal with, we can give them the benefit of the doubt.  We can do or say something to make their day a little more pleasant, instead of criticizing or complaining about them.  I need daily reminders to do this, but when I do, it makes my day a little more enjoyable too.  A simple ‘thank you’ or letting someone go ahead of me helps take me off the #1 pedestal in my heart.  When we place God and others before us in the priority line, it lets humility work a little better in our lives.  I don’t’ know about you, but I need that on a daily basis.  I will even appreciate my job a lot more when I get back into a ‘normal’ routine too.  I have to go, a baby is crying.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Yours in Christ,

Clark