How We Measure

For you will be judged by the same standard with which you judge others, and you will be measured by the same measure you use. Matthew 7:2

Making a judgement call seems to be human nature. We see, we assess, we decide in the blink of an eye. We do it all the time without even giving it a second thought, not only with our words, but also with our tone, and our demeanor. When we say that some one is “unbelievable” or “ridiculous” what we’re really doing is measuring their worth. The word ridiculous means that what we’re commenting on is worthy of ridicule, and we say it regularly, without thinking of what we’re really saying. When we say that someone is unbelievable, what we’re really saying is that we think their behavior is unacceptable to us, or that they are scarcely credible, they are too improbable for us to believe. And when we use these types of terms in these ways, we’re not complimenting someone, we’re belittling them.

It is so easy for us to belittle others when we think we are seeing rightly. We call them sick, brainwashed, crazy, idiots, disgusting, and worse. It’s not just how we measure that will be handed back to us, but also what we measure. If we measure hate, distrust, self-righteousness, disgust, discord, or whatever we fill that cup up with, that’s what we’ll get right back in our laps. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38). Usually, when we reap the seeds we’ve sown, enough time has passed that we have completely forgotten that we are responsible for what we face. We judge, we blame, and we blindly measure out a little more, resulting in a downward spiral that’s difficult to break. It becomes us (the righteous) or them (the whichever derogatory name we choose).

I think this is why Christ advised us not to point out the splinter in someone’s eye, while we have a board in our own. It’s not a very good idea, because we tend to look at life through the narrow prism of our own desires and preconceived ideas, and no matter how smart we think we are, we have a limited view of truth. We are constantly barraged with opinions about reality, and we’ve become reliant upon those opinions. Frankly, one of our downfalls, since the fall, is that we’re quite lazy creatures. We gravitate toward what appears to be accurate, or worse yet, what we want that accuracy to look like, and not what our spidey-sense tells us is really true. It’s easier to reiterate what someone else tells us is right, than to use discernment. Discernment requires effort. It entails using our ears more than our lips, and making the effort to see the whole picture, not just the part that pleases us. Many times it’s those desires and ideas that become the “board” that blocks our vision.

Lately, I’ve seen so many people willing to throw away life-long friendships, or decide they will no longer speak to a relative, because they have convinced themselves of their own righteousness, their infallible perception of truth. I find it very sad. It brings to mind Matthew, the publican and disciple, with whom the Pharisees condemned Jesus for associating. The man who ended up recording the life of the One, Christ Jesus, who called him to a higher purpose and altered his life irrevocably. Or the Apostle Paul, who was hell-bent against Christ and his disciples, had an awakening, and found himself 180° from where he began. What did Paul see and what did he come to understand? Whatever the Lord had shown him, we know through Acts 9 that “the scales were removed from his eyes,” and unless the scales are removed from our eyes, too, we cannot perceive the truth at all. Without having eyes to see, we are bound to continue our default pattern of inappropriately consigning others to damnation by accusing them of all the butt-headed things of which we ourselves are guilty of as well. Whenever we “point the finger” at someone else, there are three that point back to us, that accuse us of what we find so offensive, so condemning.

A Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Forgive us for clinging to our short-sightedness, to our preconceived notions. Open our eyes, let the scales fall away so that we may see as you see, so that we can love like you love. Help us to be aware of how we measure, to remember that all fall short in Your sight. Give us eyes to see that we may look at others with compassion in our hearts, forgiving their faults as you have so graciously forgiven ours.

Amen

~SLM

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