It’s all about the Context

Sharie King

Jesus puts our story in Context

I could not stop laughing when my friend told me a story about her daughter. Apparently she is a nick-namer too. My kids have had multiple nicknames growing up, but they’ve all been safe. She had an experience yesterday when she realized the one she’d come up with for her daughter could be completely taken out of context.

Angie was changing her daughter, Helen’s, diaper when things got a little messy. So Angie reached for the wipes. In an instant, Helen reached for her poop, with both hands. When Angie glanced back she saw both hands covered and exclaimed, “Oh Hel!”

Her son walked just in time to be shocked by his mom’s crude language. Surprised, he asked why she had “cussed”. Angie was confused at first, but then she realized what had happened. She explained, “I was calling her by her nickname ‘Hel’, not saying the rude word ‘hell’”. They looked at each other and grinned.

I would have thought the same thing as Angie’s son, but in truth that was not her heart or intention. I wonder how many times we hear about a situation, or a person and do the same thing. I wonder how many people we observe and think, “How could she…How could he…I can’t believe they…I would’ve…”.

I do it too, but I’m learning to stop myself. The truth is, we are all different and have diverse experiences and backgrounds. Maybe WE would handle the situation differently, but the truth is we haven’t lived the life of the person we are putting under a microscope. We don’t know THEIR hurts, pains, mistakes, etc.

I have come to believe this is why scripture so carefully warns us not to judge. It’s ok to see the wisdom in not making the same mistakes as others, but it’s not ok to think less or put them down because of they’ve not acted according to our standards. Someone could easily put me under a microscope and discover unacceptable qualities or deeds. I see my imperfection each day as Paul says in Romans, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (24-25)

Just as I sin, I must offer grace to the multitude of sinners I live among and let God be the one to weigh hearts and motives. Matt 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged and with with measure you use it will be measured to you.” He is the only one who can put our story in context.

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