by Maggie Lasher
“Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and judgment will not be passed on you. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you.” ~ Matthew 7:1-2 (The Passion Translation
What pushes your buttons? That last straw that just makes you want to scream and “bless their hearts”?
One of the things that test my Christianity is flying. I really don’t enjoy any part of it – from the hurry up and wait of getting to the airport, standing in multiple lines, sitting in the middle seat (always!) on the plane, and then the anxiety of watching everyone’s bag but yours come down the baggage chute.
So when this showed up in my inbox, I knew God was having a “come to Jesus” moment with me.
“WHEN YOU FIND yourself tempted to judge others, say a prayer of blessing for them. This morning as I took my sunrise walk on Craigsville Beach, I found a number of opportunities to bless my predawn morning companions! Tempted to judge the high school student who drove up with hip-hop music blasting, I chose to bless him and his day. Annoyed by the smoker who fowls the pristine morning air, I chose to wave “hello” and say a prayer of blessing…. I can assure you that life will give you plenty of opportunities to bless those who inspire judgment and alienation!” — Bruce G. Epperly, The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-Filled World (Upper Room Books, 2018)
Once I went to Pastor Ted Griner to complain about someone who had gotten on my last nerve, feeling sure he would feel the same way. Once I voiced my complaints, Pastor Ted asked, “Have you prayed for them?” No, I had not. And so we prayed.
Lord, I am doing it again – judging, criticizing, and complaining – even if it’s only in my head. Lord, let me see with Your eyes that I may love with Your heart. Remind me that each person I encounter is Your beloved child and that each annoyance is an opportunity to seek Your blessing for them, and in turn, myself. Amen.