Judging and Standards

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Growing up in my family, as the only boy, and the oldest child, I
managed to get certain privileges and got away with a lot of things
that my four sisters didn’t. Sometimes, I was accused of being the
favorite—or at least acting like it. When I went away to college, got
a degree in ministry, and became a full-time minister, I often carried
myself with an air of piety and self-righteousness especially in front
of my family. I got in the habit of correcting my sisters—and even my
parents at times. I was younger then and certainly more immature. Now,
when I get together with family I have to work hard to be careful and
not fall back into familiar patterns, roles and even more familiar
assumptions.

Last week I got to hang out with my family in Colorado. My sister Beth
got married on July 3rd and my parents, all of my siblings, and most
of the grandkids spent a long weekend together. It was busy, and
stressful, and hectic. It was also great to see everyone again. On
this weekend with  my sisters, I was considering my dating life and
comparing it to that of my sisters; and I began to feel a little
self-righteous again. Falling back into old—and bad—habits. But then,
I two things came to my mind. First, I was reminded of something very
important… “I am not perfect!” For me, in my family, this always comes
as a little bit of a surprise. Second, I realized that I only judge my
sisters on things I am really good at. I call out areas where they
struggle and I excel. I rarely judge them about sarcasm, using words
that hurt, or picking on one another—all things I struggle with too! I
was lying on bed the night before the actual wedding and the word’s of
Paul struck me. Paul writes in Romans 14:4, “Who are you to criticize
another…? Before his own Lord he [or she] stands or falls. And he [or
she] will stand. For the Lord is able to make him [her] stand.

Needless to say, I had a great weekend. It was wonderful seeing
family—and thankfully, God used my time with them to stretch me and
teach me a little more.

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