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Faithful utterances

Sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around mine

by Froswa Booker-Drew
Froswa’ Booker-Drew

I’ve noticed a trend. There is a mom influencer who was blasted because of her choice to travel and leave her kids with her spouse. She received messages criticizing her, labeling her as a bad mother. Frequently online, individuals are judged by strangers for their choices. This doesn’t just happen online, but I met a stranger who felt compelled to share their thoughts on something personal they knew nothing about but felt the need to give advice that was unsolicited.

In all of these situations, people make assumptions without really knowing people, having the full story, and an understanding of the true context. I see this play out increasingly with individuals who proclaim they are followers of Christ. We make the mistake of assuming people live in the world the way that we do. When others choose different paths and don’t follow what we do, instead of choosing to learn more and understand, our tongues and fingers become weapons of mass destruction.

I’ve never seen a person change the way they live or change their beliefs from being belittled, interrogated, or put down. If anything, people become defensive and become more resolute in their decisions and behaviors. As a society, we have become so quick to judge others and feel that our opinions actually matter to strangers (Proverbs 15:1-2). The energy expended in criticizing the lives and decisions of others could be used to better our lives and conditions.

I find that people who are often so determined to ‘get others told’ fail to see their own shortcomings. They don’t take the time to self-reflect. Maybe the reason why they are so willing to critique others is because they are unwilling to face their own mess. The Bible is noticeably clear on the need for introspection. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:3-5, NIV. What would happen if more people focused on becoming a better version of themselves daily? What would happen if we gave grace to others—the same grace we desire when we make a mistake or miss the mark? It’s important that we take the time to self-examine before we point fingers at others.

As believers, we cannot profess the word of God (which is rooted in love) and forget what God commands in how we treat others. “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does,” James 1: 23-25. We cannot talk about God’s forgiveness of our sins, put others on blast, and conveniently forget our mess. Matthew 18:23-34 is a parable that Jesus shares that is a reminder that the same judgement we apply to others will be applied to us. This week, instead of finding fault in others, take the time to invest in becoming a better you. Ask God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life,” Psalm 139:23-24. Make it a priority to ask God to direct your life. If this becomes your focus, you won’t have time to look at what other people are doing (or are not doing.) Decide to take the plank out of your eye before commenting on the speck in someone else’s and don’t forget to sweep around your front door first.

(Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the vice president of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit <drfroswa.com>.)

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