If you want to know what is right, just ask me…
… on virtually ANY topic.
Let’s start with DRIVING. I can tell you how fast you should be driving, which lane you should be in, how (and when) to pass, when to put on your turn signal, how much space you should allow me as you merge into my lane, and exactly how often you should wash your car.
In fact, I just returned from a cross-town trip in my car and offered just about every one of these pieces of advice to other drivers on the road.
I am sure my wife is pulling my leg when she insists that other drivers don’t appreciate my wisdom.
I can also tell you the right way to raise your children… especially if you are having a hard time with their behavior in a restaurant, grocery store, or other public place.
SPORTS? I’m your guy.
I have all the right answers for the manager (and players) for our hometown baseball team. I can tell the players when to swing at a pitch and when to let it go by. I can tell them how fast to run the bases, how far back to stand in the field, and – importantly – how long their pant legs should be.
I can tell the manager when to take a pitcher out, when to leave him in, when to steal a base, when to bunt, when to bring someone up from the minors, and when to send them down.
I regularly speak this wisdom directly into the TV screen during games, with little to no effect.
I have just as many right answers to offer the coach, general manager, and scouts for our hometown professional football team, too.
Unsure where you stand on any of the complex political issues of the day? Just give me a call at 1-800-KNOWITALL and I will happily illuminate you.
Heck, I have answers for you on finance, hygiene, etiquette, grooming, clothing style, lawn care, faith, food, and patriotism…
… just to name a few.
Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about what a wonderful world this would be if only you would each seek – and then apply – my impeccable guidance to the issues you face.
Of course I kid.
Or do I?
I have discovered that one of the consequences of living in a world filled with people who are not me, who do not live (or believe) in lockstep with me, who sometimes even seem to REVEL in taking a different path, is that I sometimes find it hard NOT to judge… or take a critical view… of “those people.”
Sometimes I do it under the guise of “offering helpful advice.” “This approach worked for me…I’m sure it would work for you, too!”
Sometimes though I fear I might do it out of a deep-seated need to elevate ME… by diminishing YOU.
When Jesus told us (in Luke 6:37), “Do not judge and you will not be judged…” he was giving us several different kinds of life guidance all at once.
Of course he was guiding us on helpful social norms. He knew that we can easily become irritants to people who constantly receive correction from us… even when we are on target with our critiques.
But I think the primary purpose of this teaching is to help us each develop GRACE and HUMILITY as a necessary prerequisite for loving our neighbors.
See, if I only see you as a “project” to work on instead of as a fully capable, full-functioning child of God with a rich uniqueness to offer the world, I have committed the fundamental sin of IDOLATRY; that is, I am guilty of trying to remake you in MY image, instead of allowing space for the imago dei in which you were originally created to flourish.
So you do you and I’ll do me.
And hopefully we will BOTH observe a common, respectful Code of Conductwhen next we meet on the highway.