La Junta UMC
La Junta UMC

“Clean Up Our Backyards”           “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s (sister’s) eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7: 3

There’s an old story, maybe you’ve heard it, where a young married couple is sitting at their table eating breakfast watching the neighbor woman hang her laundry.

“Pity”, the young wife exclaims, “that laundry is filthy, she clearly doesn’t know how to do laundry.

Her husband stays silent.

This happened for several weeks when finally, one day the young woman, again watching the neighbor woman hanging the clothes exclaimed “Wow, she finally learned how to do laundry, I wonder who taught her?”

“Well, you see, I got up early today and actually cleaned our windows” The husband replied.

What are we seeing that is being clouded by the proverbial window we are watching it through?

As a manager of a training department who worked with various other departments very closely: operations, HR, senior level management; I would often hear the phrase “Don’t complain about your neighbor’s backyard, if yours ain’t cleaned up first.”

I would always be challenged by other departments: training didn’t do this; training didn’t teach that.  I refused to reply with “well if you hired quality employees, we’d have someone worthy to train!  If your operations managers did their job they’d have caught this weeks ago!”

Instead of pointing fingers, I would do a “deep dive” meeting with my trainers and see if there were deficiencies and if there were, we would retrain the trainers to ensure they didn’t miss it next time. I would hold accountable those that needed to be held accountable in my department.

If through the deep dive we determined another department was at fault, I met with the head personally and showed them the documentation.  Although the temptation was always to “throw someone else under the bus”, even after we were always the scapegoat, I always tried to lead by example to keep emotion out of it.  Take personal responsibility when necessary and hold others accountable when necessary.

Truthfully, I was able to do this most of the time, but not always.  I’m no Jesus!  Even I succumbed the emotion of a “gotcha” moment in a couple staff meetings that got very heated.  Strangely, I never felt validated though.

Our scripture reading today from Jesus’ own words is reminding us not to judge others because we too will be judged.  Just one verse before today’s scripture, Jesus reminds us that we will be judged by God the same way we judge others and with the same measure we judge others we also will be measured.

We sometimes think that by deflecting attention to others perceived shortcomings we can ensure no one examines us too closely.  That’s dangerous and simply not helpful.

I pray that as you navigate this challenging time that you remember Jesus’ words about judging others and avoid the temptation of scapegoating other people.  It can be challenging to move from judgement to acceptance but you will be so much more liberated in your faith.  Imagine not worrying about what other people are saying or doing but only worrying about what you are saying and doing?  How much emotional energy are you freeing up?

To be clear, I am not talking about not caring about each other; quite the opposite.  Jesus simply demands that we do not scapegoat each other, blame shift each other, judge each other, right fight with each other, or any other unhealthy and unhelpful actions that actually cause dissention and hurt.

Perhaps we can even quit judging each other long enough to listen to understand one another and what the “other” is trying to tell us.

May it be so,

Rev. Lou Ward

 

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Monthly Potluck:

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3rd Saturday Monthly Veteran & First Responders' Breakfast:

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United Methodist Women Monthly Meeting:

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Tuesday: 8:00-12:00 AM

Wednesday: 8:00-11:00 AM

Thursday: 8:00-11:00 AM

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La Junta United Methodist Church

601 San Juan Ave

La Junta, CO 81050

 

Phone: (719) 384-7717

E-mail: umclj@centurytel.net

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