Pastor Cal's
Weekly Epistle

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writes a weekly column
for the Spirit Page of
the Norwich Bulletin.

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Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

Check out our blog at Central Baptist Life
Let God Be the Judge                    May 15, 2013

Dear friends,

"Do you come from China?"  As I heard the question, I turned to see the leader of
Rotary's Group Study Exchange Team from France speaking to an Asian woman
who was doing yoga at the park.  Two young people standing near by almost fell
over themselves when they heard it. "Oh my God!" one of them exclaimed.  They
began laughing and as they walked away they shouted back, "I'm American!"  The
other chirped in, "Me too! In case you wanted to know."  It was like a scene right
out of Seinfeld.

It took place so fast that it suddenly dawned on me that my new friend had
committed a real faux pas in our politically correct society.  She saw a lovely Asian
woman dressed in traditional Chinese garb in small town America and made the
assumption that she must be a visitor too.  Being a guest in our town, she was
actually trying to reach out and make a connection, something those kids didn't
even bother trying to do.

It is so easy to make a snap judgment about something or someone based upon
what we see or hear.  I just did it about those kids.  I don't know them at all.  We
project motives onto others and base our judgment upon our past experiences in
similar situations.  For all I know the kids could have been making fun of this
woman just a few minutes before.  Maybe that's why they interpreted the question
of the team leader as being insensitive.

I did it again.  I made another judgment about the kids.  That's the way our brain
works.  It helps us make sense out of our world.  Our brain fills in the blanks and
suggests the reasons behind what is happening.  Many times the conclusions we
draw back up our own pet peeves.  The problem is that sometimes we get it right.
Sometimes we get it wrong.

I think that is why the scriptures remind us in several places that we need to be
careful when judging the motives of others.  In I Samuel 16:7 we read, The LORD
does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart."  In other words, God truly knows what we are
thinking and what our motives are and he is best suited to make the judgments.

The truth is that we need to look at our own hearts and make sure that we are right
with God before we begin to worry about what others are doing.  That is what Jesus
was referring to when he told the religious leaders that they should worry less
about the speck in someone else's eye and more about the log in their own.  For we
will be judged upon what we have done, rather than what someone else has done.

It's okay to lift up a standard of love and respect for one another.  We should do
that.  It's okay to clearly define the way God wants us to live.  That is part of our
calling as we are sent out into the world.  The best way to do that is to live it and let
your life be a shining example of God's love and righteousness.  Let's leave the
judging to God. After all, that's his job.

God bless. See you in church!  Cal