I watched a lot of Olympic events this past month, especially swimming and track and field. The swimming events I watched with my daughter, a competitive swimmer. We would give running “expert” color commentary throughout the races, commenting on stroke rates, time under water, starts, etc. We had every answer for why swimmers won, as well as a litany of reasons why they screwed up and lost. I did the same with the distance running events, lamenting athletes moving too early, choosing the wrong lane, or astutely approving of their medal winning decisions. From the comfort of an air conditioned living room I spent two weeks holding court over the world’s best athletes, and greatly enjoyed doing so.
Believe it or not, years ago I actually competed against several athletes that are now Olympians. They utterly kicked my rear end, and would do so by ridiculous margins today. While I may feel like an expert in front of the TV, the reality is that each and every Olympian excels at their sport more than I could ever hope to. They are so beyond me that I really have no place to pass ANY sort of judgement.
See, one of the easiest things to do is to judge others. We often do it many times each and every day (and then post about it on social media). When we judge, we assume a position of total control. We see a situation and, based on our observation and opinion, judge that person. It really does not get much easier than that. Yet, that’s not what God wants us to focus on in our lives. Instead, God desires us to focus on something significantly more difficult: judging our own lives.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
My challenge for us is to watch ourselves on that TV screen: to look at our lives and examine whether or not we are living up to God’s plan for our life. If you are looking for something to measure your life against, the fruit of the spirit are a great measuring stick. Instead of seeing the errors of others, we need to recognize our own errors, admit them to God, ask forgiveness, and change. We follow a God who DESPERATELY wants to forgive us and transform us, and it starts with us examining our lives and admitting our errors. This week, let’s turn our focus inward and make the changes God desires us to make.