Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

John 7:24 (NRSV)

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

DEVOTION – Elmer A. Dickson (Florida)

One spring day I heard the distinct rat-a-tat of what had to be a woodpecker.  I thought the bird I saw was drilling in a light pole for insects to eat.  But as I watched, I discovered that the busy bird was pecking on the plastic globe of a streetlight.  What a dumb bird!  I thought.  There would be no bugs to gain where it was pecking.  But as I watched what seemed like a futile effort, it occurred to me that I do not know much about such birds.  I might not fully understand the behavior I was seeing.

The next day I researched woodpeckers on the Internet.  I found that what I saw was probably a downy woodpecker whose drumming wasn’t for food but was actually a mating call and an announcement about the bird’s territory.  The bird wasn’t dumb after all.  I was ignorant.

Then I remembered the words of Jesus: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24).  My experience with that bird reminded me that when I strive to learn about an issue before I jump to conclusions that might not be correct, God will help me to make right judgments.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Quick judgments can keep us from seeing what is true.

Link2Life:  To see a video of a downy woodpecker, go to devotional.upperroom.org/blog.

PRAYER:  Gracious God, send your Spirit to remind us not to judge.  We pray in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Someone I Have Judged

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