“There but for the grace of God go I.”
I once saw a man drive away from a gas pump with the nozzle still in the tank. I was standing at the neighboring pump, getting my own gas.
The nozzle popped loudly when it came out. He immediately stopped and jumped out of the car. He was a clean-cut, 30-something professional type, very embarrassed by what he’d done. He just kept stammering, “I can’t believe I did that,” more to himself than to me.
I just said, “Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.”
Which is not entirely true, of course. I’ve been pumping gas for 37 years and never left the nozzle in the car. But I have done some really stupid stuff.
Like once I nearly knocked myself out by walking into a speed limit sign.
It was early in my journalism career at the Athens Daily Review and I was keeping an eye on a motel with a reputation for drugs and prostitution with our photographer. We thought we were going to break a big story, but the only thing we almost broke was my nose. A mathematician couldn’t have done of better job of measuring my steps in order to hit that sign with maximum force.
Like I said, stupid. I was looking at the motel instead of looking where I was going.
We’ve all had those moments.
So I wonder why we are critical when other people make mistakes.
Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge, or you to 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.” (NIV)
That verse gets thrown around plenty by Christians and non-Christians alike. Much of the time I hear it being used to try and stop people from discussing various moral issues.
But what if it isn’t that complicated? What if it is just about giving our fellow humans a break?
Like the waitress who forgets the water. Or the driver who doesn’t see the light turn green right away. Or the salesperson who needs help ringing up a purchase.
You get the idea.
Maybe all those annoying moments would be easier to experience if we remembered that we all, at some time, have been just as annoying to someone.
Maybe that’s the great equalizer.
Judge others the way you want to be judged. After all, there but for the grace of God …