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The Boomerang

I never saw it coming from Bruce. He was a retired businessman who agreed to drive Pam and I from the conference center to the hotel room we would staying at for the night so we could preach at his church on Sunday morning. He walked with a limp and didn’t have much to say during the conference. He and his wife quickly volunteered to drive us so I expected they would be nice people but I didn’t think his words would become the focus of my week.
Over lunch, Bruce told me, “The most important lesson I have learned in life is ‘in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.’ (Matthew 7:2) I grew up in a home of rejection. It was the one thing I could count on from my parents. I spent too much of my adult life judging that others would do the same thing. I judged my wife as someone who would reject me so I kept my distance emotionally. I judged people I did business with as people who would reject me so I was either overly cautious with them or overeager to please them. Amazingly, they all seemed to reject me when I needed them the most. I insured they would do the very thing I wanted them not to do.”
My first thought when he finished was, “the judgments we put on people are like boomerangs that are guaranteed to come back to us.” A flood of examples flew through my mind:
• The spouse who is consistently complaining about the immaturity of the other seems to constantly get immature reactions.
• The child who is consistently accused of being irresponsible, frustrates her parents with ongoing irresponsibility.
• The friends who talk about how mean other people are seem to be surrounded by mean people.
• The leader who complains about the lack of initiative among the employees is confused by the fact that no one takes initiative.
• The individual who refuses to forgive can always find someone close by who is emotionally unhealthy.
• The person who is afraid of failure, rejection or, abandonment is usually in close contact with people who trigger the fear.
I am not advocating that we ignore reality because there are harmful people in the world and we need to learn to set healthy boundaries that allow for personal growth and protect the most important people in our lives. But, I am also determined to see the potential in the people I care about and to train myself to focus on what they can be rather than on the imperfections we all possess and must wrestle with.
I want to be surrounded by responsible, compassionate, forward-thinking, innovative people. I, therefore, need to judge the people in my life as responsible, compassionate, forward-thinking and innovative. As I help them see these traits in themselves, they will, likewise, see those same traits in me.
Let the boomerang fly!

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2 Responses

  1. Wow. What a bullseye today. I had just gotten off of a very difficult conference call early this morning, with the two people in my life who most challenge me to stay in grace (and frankly whom I’ve “given up on” re: that there’d ever be change), which was followed by a call from my accountability partner with whom I discussed this EXACT thing (amongst others), when I read your post. It was a classic God moment – the hound of heaven chasing me down, confronting me and reminding me of the way He made me to be, the way that I can and should be – a better way to be. I needed to hear this today, from more than one of the people that I trust most in my life to speak truth to me. Thanks Bill.

  2. That really touched me. I needed those words of wisdom today. . I am convicted in so many ways for judging others. I don’t know why I do it? I hear that you often pick apart in others what you don’t like in yourself. I think forgiveness in oneself is a good start but not sure how to get there. I thank you so much for this reminder of doing unto others as we want done unto us.

    Thank you
    Trenda

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