May 24, 2017

I was once asked to give the opening presentation at a weekend for parents who were looking for some help or direction with raising children. I began with something like this:

“There are at least three groups of people who know more about raising your kids than you do.

  1. People who have never had children.
  2. People who had children 40 years ago.
  3. People whose children are the most misbehaved brats on the planet.

There may be others but few will be more outspoken then the three above.”

This same principle of naiveté also applies to those who want to tell me about what it means to be a Christian. I’m talking of course about those who have no clue about the Faith, but of course, they think they do.  You know… those who quit coming to church years ago because “Church goers are just a bunch of hypocrites”; or those who quit coming because they didn’t like the pastor.  Meanwhile, that pastor left 10 years ago.  Or those who have had a few too many and want to spout off about their thoughts on God.

Maybe what I have heard most over the years is something this, “You can’t judge other people!” And then in a sarcastic, smarmy, self righteous voice, “And you call yourself a Christian!”  And if they are really smart they might reference Matthew 7.  Or at the least they will reference verse 1.

1Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 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.

It only takes a cursory look at these verses to realize they are about hypocrisy, not judgment, i.e., don’t be a hypocrite! If you have sin in your life, don’t judge others for the same thing.  Get your life together before casting aspersions on others.  These verses are not proof texts regarding judging!

Let me ask maybe a different question. Do you believe that forgiveness is a practice commanded in the Bible?  For sure it is!  Matthew 6:15  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  And numerous other verses I might add.

Here’s the question. How do you forgive or what do you forgive, if there is not a judgment made about the other person’s behavior?  What do you forgive if you have not made a “judgment” that the other has “sinned against you?” With no judgment there is no need for or grounds for forgiveness. Imagine in a courtroom the judge saying, “Your penalty is life imprisonment.”  Someone then questions why there is a penalty at all.  What does the judge say if there has been no judgment of guilt made?  He can’t say anything.  That’s why courts have to make a judgment.  There is no court if there is no sense of judgment.  There is no declaration of guilt or innocence if there is no judgment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that your judgment or mine is infallible.  After all, just like secular courts, we can make mistakes.  But we cannot live life without making judgments… constantly… regularly…. repeatedly….  I would also say that for Christians our judgments need to come from loving and kind hearts.  WE ARE NOT THE WORLD!  Get it?  WE ARE NOT THE WORLD!  If you don’t hear anything else today hear this:  We are not called to judge as the World judges.  We are called to judge as God judges… from a position of love.

How are you doing with that?


In Honor of Mothers and Fathers day: Words we didn’t appreciate as children but we do now.

May 15, 2017

“Close the door… were you born in a barn.”

“Say ‘please’.”

“Go say hi to your aunts and uncles.”’

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

“Get out of the shower!  30 minutes is plenty long enough!”

“Don’t chew with your mouth open.”  And it’s close cousin… “Don’t talk with your mouth full.”

“Yes, you have to go see your grandparents.”

“Say ‘thank you.’”

“Yes, we’re going to church.”

“The grass needs to be cut today.”

“Get your elbows off of the table.”

“Eat your vegetables.”

“Someday you’ll understand.”

“You think that’s funny??? We’ll see how funny it is when…”

“Put something nice on… you look like a slob.”

“Don’t you make me pull this car over!”

“Shut the refrigerator door!  Are you trying to air condition the house?”

“This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.”

“Make your bed.”

“And clean your room while you’re at it!”

“Are the dishes done yet?”

“Use your manners.”

“Get that smirk off of your face.”

“Turn the lights off!”

“Be home by _____________ o’clock.”

“You’re not going anywhere until your homework is done.”

“Did you practice today?”

“No, we can’t afford that.”

“Get a summer job.”

“You can walk there.  When I was a kid, we walked everywhere.”

“When I was a kid…”

“Be in before the streetlights come on.”

“’I’m sorry’ doesn’t cut it buster.”

“Finish what’s on your plate.”

“You are restricted for ________ days, weeks, months.”

“What are you going to do with your life?”

“Go outside and play.”

“I don’t care if it’s ‘in style.’”

“Did you do your chores today?”

“Eat your (peas, crust or some other disgusting thing) it will give you curly hair.  (Or it will put hair on your chest).”

“Go get the paddle.”

“No, we don’t do allowances.”

“I don’t care what Johnny’s parents say.”

“I was your age once.”’

“How many times do I have to tell you?!”

“If Johnny jumped off of a bridge…”

“Go take a bath.”


There have to be hundreds more.  If you want to send them to me that would be great.  williamL392@comcast.net

I hope some of these put a smile on your face.  Have a blessed day.


May 12, 2017

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these… lots of reasons but none of them earth shattering. So with that being said…

I’m not a tattoo guy. Never have been.  I spent 4 years in the Navy where tattoos were practically invented and I didn’t have any inclination to permanently scar my body.  But, that’s just me I guess.  I realize it’s just a fad like bell bottoms and long hair were “back in the day.”  Of course, when the fad was over I just threw my bell bottoms away and got my hair cut… not sure what some of the tattoo folks will look like 20 years from now.  I read recently that 25% of people with tattoos are getting them removed.  I’m also occasionally struck by people who can’t seem to get together enough money to buy food but they somehow manage to spend thousands of dollars on tattoos.  Can you say “bad life choices?”

I especially don’t get the overzealous people with tattoos all over their body and faces. Really?!  Can you say “mental issues?”  Listen, I understand tattoos for the most part.  It’s what people are doing and most of us are followers and faddy.  (Not fatty… but that too.)  Just please don’t make the claim that you are somehow an “individual” a “trend setter” or an “art display.” You are not.  Well, depending on what one calls “art” but that is another conversation all together.

Someone is going to say, “Who do you think you are to make judgments about others?” Um… I’m actually allowed to have an opinion.  Not only am I not a tattoo person, I’m not a beach person either.  Is that okay?  I suspect it is.  That being said I am occasionally forced to get sand all through my belongings, my eyes, my bathing suit, my mouth and my food to satisfy a craving that Ellen gets.

Here’s the problem. We have been taught by our culture that it is not possible to care about people or love them if we disagree with their choices in life.  Many have drunk that Kool-aid.  It is a lie!  A bold faced, manipulative, destructive lie.  Those who believe that, among many other things, have never had children.  I do not agree with some of the decisions my kids have made but I love them beyond words.  And Ellen and I don’t agree on all things (this tattoo thing is one of them) and yet I’m pretty sure we love each other…. Well, until she reads this maybe.

Don’t tell me who I love and who I don’t love. Is it true that some (maybe even many) have chosen to not love those they disagree with… YES!  Of course that is true.  And if you are a Believer and in that category you are in sin!  But it does not have to be that way.  Don’t get me wrong.  We do not have to like or love all “practices” but we must love our neighbor as ourselves and we must pray for our enemies.  Pretty sure Jesus said that.  And it is absolutely true that on occasion we need to tell people that we love… “NO!”  To not tell them that is sometimes the cruelest thing we can do.  So assenting to the behavior or practices of others is not always loving.

All of that being said, I think I shocked Ellen and my kids the other day when I told them that I saw a tattoo that I liked and approved of. There were actually two.  One was a mother who got a copy of her daughter’s birth mark tattooed onto her hand.  The other was a mother and father who got matching birthmarks on their legs to copy the one their child was born with.  I was brought to tears.  Now those are worthwhile scars to attach to your body.  Just my opinion.