Sweep around your own front door | Faith
by The Press and Standard | July 29, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 25, 2018 at 10:17 am
Have you ever repeated something you heard about someone but did not know all the facts? Have you ever known someone in a certain way, then you heard something negative about him or her, and after that, you looked at that individual in a different light? Have you ever purposely spoken evil against someone, knowing full well what the consequences could be?
If you can answer “Yes” to any one of these questions, then you were judging. James 4:11-12 (ESV) says, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Therefore, according to the word, we have no right to judge anyone even though we all are guilty of having done it before, consciously or subconsciously. What happens when you judge another person, especially in an accusatory manner?
• You cause others to look at that person in a negative light. Realize that some people are weak; therefore, they believe all that they hear.
• You could ruin that person’s reputation.
• Your remarks could cause that individual to develop low self-esteem.
• Whatever you negatively say about that person could cause him to second guess who he really is.
• Depending upon the situation, you could cause the individual to be arrested.
• Your “less-than-carefully-selected” words could cost the individual his job, even his family.
• The venom that you spewed could cause that someone to become withdrawn from society.
It is a good thing to always choose your words wisely because you don’t always know who knows whom. You are not a perfect being and have no right to judge others, so sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around someone else’s.
According to Romans 2:1 (ESV), “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” Let me share a personal experience with you.
Approximately seven years ago, my principal selected me to teach Advanced Placement English that year. I was so happy because I had been AP trained for quite a while, and I had taught the course before. It was going to be great to do this again. Needless to say, there were those who did not want me to teach the course because they felt that another teacher deserved to teach the class. Okay, that was fine. However, it did not stop there.
It is my understanding that discussions were held against me. Then the ultimate — a letter was written to the editor to be published in the newspaper, “Wrong Teacher for AP.” The majority of the information in the letter was erroneous and cruel. Obviously, the author(s) knew nothing about my background as a teacher. I was even referred to as “poison.”
At the time that I heard about this venomous communication against me, I was in Spartanburg with my oldest son who was taking care of me during my recovery from surgery. A very dear friend of mine saw it in the newspaper and did not want me to come back home and be shocked to find such. So she called me to let me know what had been published about me.
Did it hurt my feelings? Yes, of course. Did I fire back at those who perpetrated such against me? No, I did not because I didn’t have to do so. My work as a classroom teacher in two different states has always spoken for itself. As a result of this judgment against me, the class did not make that semester. However, my principal believed in me and assigned the class to me again. I ended up teaching the class two semesters and had great success.
One of my outstanding former English 4 Honors and AP English students, who is currently a student at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, contacted me in April for a letter of recommendation for acceptance to attend the Jurist Academy in Delaware this summer. As always, I felt honored to be asked and gladly obliged. This is her e-mail response to my letter of recommendation: “Mrs. Bright, Good morning! How are you? I am emailing to once again thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation for me. This additional wave of thanks is due to my being accepted into the Jurist Academy! I will be traveling to Delaware this coming June to complete the program. Without your letter, my application would not have packed as much strength as it did, and I am infinitely grateful.”
Need I say more? My work continues to speak through my students. It is with such regret that I did not get the opportunity to teach that first group of students who had signed up to take the class, due to a group of people who misjudged me, knowing nothing about my abilities and qualifications. However, I did get the chance to teach some of them in a previous Honors English course.
Before you put out communication about others, choose your words very carefully. Check the negativity around your front door before you focus on what you think is negative around someone else’s. Being a bearer of bad news does not help anyone in the long run. All it does it conjure up ill feelings and destroys relationships.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)