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DISCERNMENT--OR JUDGMENT?


So how does a critical attitude come back to haunt you? Here’s one way.


A man wanted to impress his friends with his eye for art as they went to an art gallery together. He forgot his glasses, was nearsighted, and couldn’t hardly see his hand in front of his face. But he figured he could wing it w/any abstract comments and observations he wanted to make.


So he approached a frame and began criticizing: "Why would anyone want to paint something so hideously ugly? I mean, it’s a true rendering of the object, but why waste time painting such a disgusting subject?" Everyone was laughing by this time as his wife whispered into his ear, "John, it’s a mirror!"


****


Steven Covey tells in 7 Habits for Highly Effective People, the story of a man who riding an a bus and was greatly disturbed at a young boy who was running up and down the aisle of the bus screaming and laughing at the top of his lungs, while the young boy’s Dad just sat idly by. The man could not believe that someone would be so rude and inconsiderate, of the other people around him. He then began to notice other unflattering things about the man. His hair was unkempt so he was probably homeless, and his eyes were bloodshot, so he had to be an alcoholic. Finally not able to take anymore of the child this man went and approached the dad and demanded that he get control of his young son.


The dad seeming to be shaken from a trance apologized to the man and told him that the boy’s mom, his wife, had just died at the hospital after struggling all night and he was trying to think of a way to break the news to the boy.


*****


Chuck Swindoll gives several reasons why we shouldn’t judge other people, and one is because "We Don’t Know All the Facts." One time he was preaching at a Christian camp. On the first day, a man approached him and said how much he was looking forward to hearing Dr. Swindoll speak in person for the first time.


That evening, Swindoll noticed the man sitting near the front. But only a few minutes into the message, the man was sound asleep. Swindoll thought to himself "Maybe the man’s tired. After a long day’s drive, he can’t help himself."


But the same thing happened for the next few nights. Pastor Swindoll was getting exasperated. "If this guy really wants to hear me preach, why does he keep falling asleep?"


On the last night, the man’s wife came up and apologized for her husband’s inattention to the messages. She explained that he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the medication he was taking to ease the pain made him extremely sleepy. But it was one of his life-long dreams to hear Dr. Swindoll speak before he died, and now he had fulfilled that goal.


(From a sermon by Mark Opperman, "Improving our Vision" 1/12/2009)

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