The late Fred Rogers, of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, attended seminary and there took courses on how to preach. He recalled that once his wife and he were worshipping in a small church with some friends. They were on vacation, and Rogers was in the middle of one of his preaching courses. During the sermon, given by a man likely at least eighty years of age, Rogers noticed what he judged to be the mistakes of the preacher. When the sermon ended, he turned to one of his friends, planning to say something critical about the sermon to her. He stopped himself when he saw tears running down her face. She whispered to him, “He said exactly what I needed to hear.” Said Rogers, many years later, “That was really a seminal experience for me. I was judging and she was needing, and the Holy Spirit responded to need, not judgment."
1. Read the follow two passages—the first Ephesians 4.29, the second Matthew 7.1-2. What do they say about judgment? About the kind of speech that should come forth from the mouth of one who claims to follow Jesus Christ?
Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (NLT)
"Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. (NLT)
2. Do you have a tendency to not do certain things because you believe that you cannot do them well enough for God to work through them to help others?
3. Have you ever experienced God working through something you have done despite your feelings that you did not do well at it?
4. Read the following passage from Ephesians 3.20. Meditate on it. What does it say to you about what God, despite our limitations, can do through our sincere and loving efforts, when we give our effort to the honor of our Creator?
God is able to do much more than we ask or think through His power working in us. (NLT)
5. The next time you are thinking critical thoughts about how another is serving God, stop and, instead, pray for the person and be thankful for the service of that person, knowing God can use it beyond what you can ever imagine.
6. The next time you are thinking critical thoughts about how you are performing in serving God, stop and, instead, pray, being thankful for the opportunity to serve, knowing God can use your efforts beyond what you can ever imagine.
Prayer for Today
“O my God, who are sweetness unspeakable, turn into bitterness for me all carnal pleasure, which would lure me from the love of eternal things and urge me to take delight in some passing sensible good.”
*Thomas ‘a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, newly edited by Clare L. Fitzpatrick.
Brian's book of mystical love poetry,
An Ache for Union, can be ordered through major bookdealers.
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
The People of the
United Methodist Church