I needed to run to the bank and deposit some checks. Since the bank was only about 4 miles away, I decided to scoot down the road on my scooter, the Genuine Buddy 125. As I pulled out of my garage, my neighbor was backing out and she stopped to say hello. Her first words to me were (with a slight hint of insistence), “Where’s your helmet?” After clearing my throat I gave a rather ambiguous response and she indicated that I really should be wearing my helmet, “especially around here” (we live in a retired community where most drivers’ attenuation skills are not so high!). After a friendly exchange, my neighbor took off and so did I; without my helmet.
Not a few blocks from my home I realized that the checks to deposit were left behind. So, I turned around and headed back to my house. In the brief moments while riding without my helmet, I realized that my neighbor, being the kind and gentle soul that she is, had only my best interests in mind and her admonishment was reasonable. When I returned to my house, I retrieved the checks, stuffed them in my pocket, and donned my helmet before taking off for the bank.
This incident reminded me of a post by Pastor Chris Brauns where he indicated that “Submit” was viewed as a profane word in today’s culture. Just as I noted in my response there that “Obey” may equally be a term held in disdain by our culture, I suggest that yet another “swear” word in our society is the word “Judge.” We don’t like it when we’re judged by others, even if it’s for our own good. We’re told “You’re not supposed to judge others.” Christians especially seem to have Matthew 7:1 ready at all times when the heat is turned up (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” NIV). But is it wrong to judge others?
When set in the larger context (Matthew 7:1-5) we find that Jesus was not intending to lay down a blanket precept never to judge under any circumstances. If he did, then by calling someone a “hypocrite” (Matthew 7:5) would make him guilty of the very thing he was cautioning against! My reading of this text suggests that only when you’ve dealt with your own sins can you “see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” But this “seeing” entails some form of judgment. Whether assessing our own failures or those of another, a measure of “judgment” is required.
My neighbor was, in a sense, judging me for not taking a safety precaution when riding down the street on a scooter. Since her intention was only considerate and no doubt motivated out of sheer care for me, there was no reason not to “submit” to her “judgment” and thus “obey” the law of common sense! And the result? I made it to the bank without head injury because her judgment was good for me!
P.S. If you’re wondering, the state law where I live does not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet! My neighbor loves me far more than my state!