Storyteller And Judgment

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  June 15, 2013

            The audience listened with intense interest as the Storyteller spoke. He spoke simple truths, in straightforward language, and cut right to the heart of what makes a person either live at peace or in a state of tension with the world.
            At one point the Storyteller began talking about the harsh reality of judgment. He cautioned his audience not to become enveloped in the cultural trend toward judging others and placing ourselves above them in all sorts of ways.
            The Storyteller was keenly aware of people’s tendency to look at blessings and beliefs as means to elevate themselves as superior to others—especially others who were different, had conflicting beliefs, or had resources that were not the same as theirs.
            There were so many times that the Storyteller tried to transcend this kind of hurtful judgment. He recognized the unspoken truth behind so much judgment and it was his uncanny ability to share that truth with others that made his message so powerful, and memorable.
            He told them that one of the biggest challenges one faced when judging others is overcoming the biased, clouded, and often distorted perspectives we hold toward others. In our own mind, the Storyteller suggested, we are clearly in the right. We know what is best. We know what needs to be done. We know how the other person should think, act, and believe. We know because we have the God-given mind and faith to make the right choice for them, especially when they are clearly too short-sighted to do the right thing for themselves. At least that is what we think!
            Yet, in so many cases the problem is that our own vision is so distorted by the problems we face, making a clear, accurate, or even viable recommendation for the betterment of another person is impossible! Regardless of what we think is wrong with the person, our own sin will always distort that perception.
            In telling the people this, the Storyteller then lovingly, yet sternly, told the gathered audience that before they could really ever hope to honestly, fairly, and righteously judge another, they had to first come to terms with the sin in their own lives. Then—and only then—they could see clearly and begin to understand the life of another.
            Consider how much damage is done, the Storyteller subtly hinted, because well-meaning people reach out to help, judge, and correct others without a clear vision of what they first need to address. One can imagine it would be like a surgeon performing surgery on a patient that could not be easily seen or properly understood.
            The words and quiet implications of the Storyteller hit the audience with a profound sense of urgency! They were being called into a more genuine, authentic, and holy way of life. The dynamic presence of the Storyteller that first compelled them to listen, now faded in importance as the sheer truth and incredible power of his message began to ring through.
            If you want to change the world and participate in transforming lives in the name of the faith you hold so dear, begin by prayerfully working on the sin in your own life. Otherwise, you can never see clearly to address the problems elsewhere. Much to everyone’s surprise, after you venture down this sacred path of crucial self-discovery, the result will generally be that the problems you find in others were never as serious as you once believed they were. The Storyteller knows. His name is Jesus and he told this story in Matthew 7:1-5.