From the Stack

We can’t pass judgement on works in progress

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One of my favorite Christian writers, pastor Tim Challies from Canada, made a wonderful comparison as it relates to waiting for change to occur.

In a blog post titled Waiting With Faith, Tim asked some interesting questions:

“Have you ever bitten into a green tomato? Have you ever sunk your teeth into a fall apple during the heat of summer or into a summer strawberry during the cool of spring? Have you ever listened to a choir’s first rehearsal, read a book’s first draft, gazed at an artist’s initial sketches? Have you ever tasted a chef’s half-baked dish, watched a choreographer’s first dance, listened to a song’s initial lyrics?”

Everyone knows that produce eaten out of season is pretty nasty. I personally know that my first drafts when writing anything are horrible. We like to compare ourselves to others — or more likely compare others to ourselves — and start passing judgement.

People do this all the time. They’ll look at a successful person and say things like, “He’s so lucky” or “I could never do what that person can do.” Yet, they never, ever see the intense amount of hard work that went into developing that person overtime to achieve that level of excellence.

Most successful people are overnight successes 20 years in the making.

We sometimes adopt the same attitude when looking at other people, especially new Christians. They don’t act, dress or speak like people who have been immersed in God’s word for many years. Then we ask ourselves or, worse, gossip to others and say things like, “How can he think he’s a Christian? He’s the least Christian person I’ve ever met.”

Well, I assure you, they haven’t met me. If anyone is going to compare me to a Billy Graham or a John Eldredge or a John Maxwell, they’re going to find I have a l o o o n g way to go to get to that level, if I ever arrive.

The great Apostle Paul realized he had a long way to go in becoming more “Christian,” too. In 1 Timothy 1:15, he writes:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

We have no right to pass judgment on work that has not yet been completed. We should not condemn in August an apple that is meant to ripen on the tree until October. Rather, we must wait patiently until we can appreciate the completed product, the work in its finished form,” pastor Challies wrote.

“We are sometimes too quick to draw conclusions about unfinished work, too hasty to form judgments about what has only just gotten underway. Surely it is only right to reserve judgment on God’s providences until he has fully worked them out, until he has shown us not just their beginning, but also their end,” he added.

“Wisdom compels us to wait, to be patient, to admit that we ourselves do not wish to be judged for what we have merely begun, for what we may have envisioned in our minds but not yet fully formed with our hands.”

I know I need far more practice and patience in waiting with faith, not only as it relates to others, but in my own personal development.

You can read Tim Challies blog at www.challies.com.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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