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Missing the Mark: Reflections over a Cup of Coffee

 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside?  God judges outsiders. Remove the evil person from among you. 

1 Corinthians 5:12 (CSB)


            Are there areas in your life where you feel you may have missed the mark? Things you have wanted to accomplish, yet have fallen short? Areas where you have struggled to do your best yet have not ended up where you thought you would be? When I drink my coffee in the morning, I like to take time to thank God for where I am in the moment, and ask Him for support in areas in which I am working. I will even ask for support of my bowling and golf game because I fall short in those areas. I certainly ask for support in the area of compassion and listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit as I tend to fall short here as well. I add the silly events such as golf and bowling because I want to work at glorifying Him in all I do.

            My husband plays a lot of golf… I mean a LOT of golf and on occasion I join him. On each hole, there is already determined par, a mark, if you will. This mark is set in order to guide you and give you a goal to shoot for. I really like the par 3 holes because it means that I could possibly get away with only swinging the club three times versus the eight that might occur on a par five hole. My husband can generally hit the mark on most holes making the par for the number of times he hit the ball before it went into the hole. I, on the other hand, am lucky to hit the mark of one swing over par (maybe two).  

            In the difficult world we reside in, it is hard to hit the mark. We are bombarded with so many different personalities, behaviors, ideas, and attitudes. How will we ever be able to make par with so many ideals and principals swirling around us? The mark set for us is clear, though. The mark we are to follow is the constant Jesus Christ and we miss the mark each time we sin. In the New Testament, the word used for sin is “amartia” which means “miss the mark”. When we sin, we plainly, miss the mark God has set for us. You think golf is a difficult game? Try living life. Being simple human beings, it can seem impossible to ever hit par in God’s eyes. Yet, Jesus tells us that we are His beloved and He will forgive us each and every time we fall short. Our job, in this difficult game, is to know what the mark is and to continue to work towards moving in that direction by being the Christian we are asked show to the world.

            Now we know that it is almost certain we will fall short of the standard of Christ, so why are we so quick to judge others who do as well? It really is no business of ours to judge others (1 Corinthians 5:12). Yet, standing in judgement of others is a world-wide hobby. Some people will even put their entire existence out like a beacon, to draw others to judgement of themselves. Take a look at what people put on social media. “Don’t judge me!” is a common cry. “I can do anything I want to; you don’t control me!” can be heard often as well. Yet, these are the ones who scream when remarks are made in judgement to their behavior and lifestyles. Unfortunately, the case is, we often sit in quiet judgement of our friends, our family, our co-workers, and our community more than we do those who don’t affect us on social media. Those behaviors we seem to be able to ignore, yet we look at those close to us through a microscope. In the book of Matthew he exhorts, “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged.” (Matthew 7:1 CSB). We, too, are sinners and can’t fathom someone sitting in judgement of us and would cause a holy stink if someone did. We miss par everyday but seem to think that if we cause people to look at others who haven’t hit the hole, the attention will be taken off of our mistakes. We judge others on their choice of dress, how much money they spend, where they send their kids to school. How does this matter to us in any way? How might it change your daily grind if they changed these things we tend to judge, differently? It wouldn’t change our existence at all, except for give us a clear conscience that we chose not to judge them for their actions, beliefs, or behaviors.

            As Christians we are asked to examine our own lives and be sure we are right with God and boast only in the Lord (Galatians 6:4). We must not sit in judgement of others especially of those not in the faith. We can examine our own behaviors and the actions of others who profess to be Christians, but even in this, we are to correct in love, not in judgement and condemnation. Let the world outside be judged by God rather than putting yourself into a place of sin by sitting in judgement.

            In our progress towards heaven, we will continue to miss the mark presented to us in the Rulebook. I encourage you to take steps to correct your mistakes on the course rather than presenting the sins of others to the world. Christ already knows your mistakes as He does others. Sort out your faults with Him in humility and let Him take care of the rest.


A Prayer for Today

Lord, I thank You for the Word and the guidance it has for me. You have given me the mark to reach for through the gift of salvation. Help me to humbly seek You for correction and to allow You to deal with the faults of others. I pray the Holy Spirit will speak to me each time I find myself wanting to focus on others and help me to see the areas I need to address.


Today’s Challenge

Reflect the areas where you tend to make judgement. Create a list of reasons why you may behave this way and pray for the Holy Spirit to keep your thoughts and words quiet when they become the topic of conversation.

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