Jesus said, 'Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you seek the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, "Let me take the speck out of your eye", but do not notice the log 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 neighbour's eye.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
I love people-watching on a beach - that wonderful sense of watching those around you as you enjoy the sun. There are families, with young children scampering around and building sand castles, before rushing up and down the beach to bring small buckets of sea water to their moat - all to no avail as the water has sunk into the sand by the time they return, yet they continue again and again. Then there are the teenagers scrambling into wet suits and dashing off into the sea with boards bigger than themselves. And of course there are the adults trying to get the children to engage with cricket or beach-ball, or keeping the sand away from the baby. You can see a whole world on a small beach!
The trouble is that people-watching, and smiling at other people's activities, can become addictive and we can end up criticising others. I've certainly been guilty of this! We start to judge others, as being too fat, too loud, too..... well anything really, that we don't like. But ultimately we damage ourselves, and the 'log' in our own eye gets bigger.
How do we stop ourselves sliding from people-watching to criticising others? Well there is someone well known to me who usually turns a comment about someone into a positive statement, so I'm trying to learn from them, and constantly asking for God's help to see the 'log' in my own eye.
may we look at others positively,
and see the good in them,
rather than our own prejudices;
and may we look at ourselves honestly,
acknowledging where we fall short,
of what You expect.
Forgive us, Lord,
and help us to amend our life.