Jun 22nd, 2020 (Monday) - Nosy Parkers - A Reflection on Matthew 7:1-5

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Have you heard a song called ‘Sound Advice’? It’s an old Elvis song, where the singer croons: “Some folks like to be the boss / They get up on their high horse / Oh they say that you're gettin, sound advice / There one thing I'm bettin' / It ain't wise, it ain't nice / You won't like the sound of their advice.” It’s a nice song. Google it. I sent this song to a friend a few days ago. She wants to get married, and everybody seems to have some advice for her about who she should get married to. Funny, ya. But I’m sure you have had your own experience of something similar.

Okay, so what has this gotta do with today’s reading? It’s about judgement. Jesus is saying, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.” Well, I believe there are three main reason we judge others. One is because when we look at the faults of others, we feel better about our own. You know how this works, ya? We watch porn every day, but when we see somebody we know committing adultery, we can justify it saying: Oh, I only watch porn; I am not sleeping around with somebody else.

The second reason is because it allows us to feel superior to others. When we climb up on a high moral horse and point out everyone’s sins, doesn’t it feel wonderful? The Pharisees loved doing this. They labelled everybody who didn’t do what they did a sinner and strutted around like pompous peacocks, acting like they were better than everybody else. Jesus tried to cut them down to size, but when you are used to looking down your noses at everybody it is kinda hard to stop.

And the third reason is because we are nosy parkers. Nosy parkers are overly inquisitive people. They cannot stop poking their noses into other people’s business. And then they like to tell them what they should do and how they should do it. They will use emotional blackmail when it seems like that might work. And all else failing, they will play the spiritual card. That’s the one that begins with: But this is what God says you should do, so you better do it, or else.

Any of this ring a bell? I’m sure it does. At various points in our lives we have all done this. But we should stop. As Jesus says in today’s reading (naturally, I paraphrase), “Hey buddy, take a look at yourself before you go around looking at others. Sure, they got flaws, but they are minor compared to the ones you have. Fix yourself first, then fix others.” And you know something, when we start looking at ourselves, we will stop looking at others because we’ll discover how messed up we are. And then, when we try to fix ourselves up, we won’t have the time or inclination to fix others. 

So, no more being nosy parkers offering sound advice.