I’m Not Perfect–But You! Quit It!


(The next couple of weeks Coffee Stains may come at strange times. I’ll try to get consistent again in July)

Once I was in a traffic jam in Luxembourg. I saw a car coming from a parking lot force his way into the traffic, which was moving at the pace of a slow snail.
One of the drivers already in the jam went bananas, honking and carrying on as if the newcomer had just assassinated the Grand Duke.

Sometime after that we had moved forward and I saw the man who had honked so fiercely, push his way through the traffic in order to turn left.

I thought, “Wasn’t this the fellow who went ballistic when someone else did what he is doing?”

It’s different when it’s me, huh?

No, not really.

Funny Eyes

Jesus speaks to my hot-headed buddy—and to me—in these verses. “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own.” (The Message, 7:1, 2)

I preach in a lot of different churches and I often find myself “rating” the music. “Too old-fashioned to reach the youth,” “pitiful musicians,” “way too loud,” “a performance instead of worship.”

Note to self: shut up and worship. If it’s too hard, too soft or just right, quit worrying about it Goldilocks!

If God likes it, that’s what counts. You’re here to praise God, not to rate the music.

And I can see your fault so easily. My own? Well, that’s a bit different.

Do you know the only person in the room who has never seen your face? You! If you can see your own face your eyes point in some strange directions.

“But, I’ve seen myself in the mirror,” you assert. That image is backward, though. And have you ever glimpsed yourself in a mirror somewhere and at first you didn’t realize the mirror was there.

“Who is that old (or fat or skinny or dumb-looking) person? Oh, it’s me! Hmmm …”

How Do You See You?

Seth Godin says, “It’s impossible to see yourself as others do. Not merely because the medium is imperfect, but, when it comes to ourselves, we process what we see differently than everyone else in the world does.”

Often we need the help of someone else to really see what we look like. If you don’t believe it fellows, try wearing something weird when you’re taking your wife somewhere.

You’ll find yourself back in the bedroom grumbling to yourself and looking for something different to wear.

If we’re going to try to improve someone, improve ourselves.

The stakes stagger us. We get to choose how we’re judged! We’re judged by how we judge others.

“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.” (Matt. 7:1, NIV)

Wow! I know I want people to judge me with mercy. Maybe I need to be a bit more merciful in my judgements about them.


Hmmm – Einstein is supposed to have said, “Everyone is a genius. But, if you judge a fish based on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Einstein or not, the person is right.

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