There are three things that I always think of when I see/hear the word tree:
This picture ~
The day our billy goat treed our littlest one and she was genuinely stuck there until I rescued her (after taking photos) ~
And a conversation I had with one of the ladies at our church over in Niger. And how the point of that conversation is something that needs to be taken to heart here in the our little mid Michigan community as well.
The fact is... the tendency to judge and evaluate others is one that is continually there. I think people who say they don't... well, I'm not so sure they are being honest with themselves. Only most judgments are made incorrectly (Jesus warned about that in John 7) - based on outward, external appearances: clothing... hairstyles... tattoos... extrovertedness... position... number of times someone is/isn't at church... and assumptions are made based on those external appearances:
- How can that person believe abortion should be legal and still claim to be a Christian?
- Under no circumstances could that clothing be considered modest!
- She's just let herself go. She must have no self control!
- I'd certainly never let my kids behave like that in public. What in the world are they teaching them?
- etc., etc., etc....
The problem with judging based on those assumptions, though, is just like trying to determine the hardiness of a tree based only on what can be seen above the ground. Sometimes that is accurate. Often times, however, we have no idea just how deep or widely established the roots are. I can remember growing up in Oklahoma and walking through where tornadoes had ravished the day before. Large robust looking trees totally uprooted, exposing the shallowness of their root system. Smaller, more fragile appearing trees still firmly in place... maybe because their outward growth appeared stunted while the roots went deep. I didn't understand that then. I really don't understand it still now.
All I do know is that the Holy Spirit reminds me of trees many times when I feel that urge to pronounce judgment as though I know all based on appearances and assumptions.
Head on over to Lisa Jo's if you'd like to join us this week.