From their quiet kitchen nook, Mr. and Mrs. Caplin spent several consecutive days watching a young family move into the house behind their own. The elderly couple liked what they saw in their new neighbors; Mr. Caplin admired the younger family’s work ethic while Mrs. Caplin approved of their frugality represented by the clothesline they’d strung between two trees.
But it wasn’t long before that same clothesline became a source of serious discontentment.
It started the very first day the young woman hung her family’s clothes out to dry. With coffee in hand, Mrs. Caplin noted to her husband, “Those shirts don’t look very clean from here. That poor thing must not know how to wash clothes very well.”
The very next morning, the young woman ventured into her backyard with another load of clothes. As she fished them out of the basket and pinned them to the line, Mrs. Caplin squinted to observe her neighbor’s laundry. “Look at her sheets, Henry! They’ve still got stains on them! She must not be using the right soap, or enough of it. Maybe both.”
This went on for a couple of weeks. Each time the young woman hung up her clothes to dry Mrs. Caplin pointed out stains or splotches and repeatedly labeled her new neighbor as “inexperienced” or “unknowledgeable” or worse. Mrs. Caplin couldn’t understand how a loving mother and wife would tolerate such dirty laundry for her family.
Finally, one Saturday morning as Mr. and Mrs. Caplin were sipping their coffee, the young woman appeared in her backyard to hang up yet another load of clothes. Mrs. Caplin leaned forward, preparing to tell her husband everything the young woman was doing wrong. Instead, she exclaimed “Look, Henry! She finally has clean clothes! I guess somebody taught the poor girl how to wash them correctly.”
Mr. Caplin replied softly, “No, Alma. I just got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
Jesus warned against being judgmental. He knew that it was impossible to look down on others…and love them at the same time. Furthermore, He knew that everyone had “dirty windows” they were looking through. In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus put it this way:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Are you seeing clearly…or like Mrs. Caplin?
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)