The Finish Line

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain.

person wearing brown boots

Advice is cheap in this world. I like to keep my advice short, but it usually ends up as a work of fiction.

Long story short, what I’ve tried to say for years is we’re missing the truth. People giving advice is everywhere and all it does is muddy the water. There is nothing as encouraging as a learned professor who’s never been married giving marital advice—Or a child-rearing expert who has no child.

What counsel do you keep? Which words of wisdom do you pitch? In years past the Bible was the rule of living. Phrases like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or “Let your light shine,” or “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”

In those years, people’s favorite verse was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” People were thankful that God had sent a savior and they could be forgiven of their sins and go to heaven.

Now we are told the Bible is passe′. It’s old and out of date. Many people still have a favorite Bible verse. It reads Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” This means, leave me alone, I’m happy that I’m damned and my sins are comfortable. Of course, that isn’t a coherent response.

One could ask what kind of response is that? In this life will anyone find a standard where that rule applies? From the moment we wake up in the morning, we must judge. Judging is to make a decision—a choice as it were. We choose what kind of day we will have, our clothing for that day, and the food we will eat. What sort of person we will be.

I use many things as a rule or a guide. One of the guides is watching other people make poor choices and judging that I didn’t want to follow their example. Another is listening to good advice.

Judge me not… but the scriptures tell us more often to judge. For example, John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

But the real problem is twofold. Some people enjoy judging others. They enjoy having power over other people, telling them what to do. I don’t enjoy that. I have enough trouble getting my own story right. However, some days we need to stand up and say something when things aren’t right.

To be honest, there are a number of people who need a new meter. They need a new “making right choices meter.” Live and let live would work if… If we were all our own island. Whoever wrote, “no man is an island…” hit the nail on the head.

Because we are interconnected we must have standards of right and wrong, by which we must live. The phrase, “Judge me not—” is a double dodge. The person not wanting to be judged knows what they are doing doesn’t pass the smell test but they want to do what they want to do.

That is dodge number one, but the person who says, “I can’t judge because…” is dodge two and three. That person is making themself feel better by virtue signaling or at least exonerating themself so they don’t have to take a stand as to the right or wrong of something. It also allows them to continue in their own shortcomings. They now don’t need to pull the beam out of their own eye. They can leave it stuck right where it is no work required either way.

Matthew 7:

1)  “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 
2)  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 
3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 
4)  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 
5)  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. 
6)  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”