Judging by earthly standards often incorrect

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Sometimes people judge others by earthly standards. A valid measurement involves looking at ourselves and others by God’s standards. An incident in my childhood just verifies this. I had no idea of the implications of the lesson at the time, but now I realize its significance.

When I was a child, we lived in Kansas City, Mo., while Mother and Daddy attended seminary. Daddy was pastor of two churches at the same time. In addition, my parents had jobs all week in downtown Kansas City. Days were filled with commuting, early mornings and late evenings.

After working all week, my parents also were enrolled in seminary, taking classes in their “spare time.” Subjects as Hebrew, Greek, homiletics and New Testament history were studied and papers were written around the kitchen table.

Sundays were difficult. Daddy was part-time preacher for two country churches. The churches were 100 miles away in opposite directions. One Sunday was the church up north, and the next Sunday was the church to the south.

During those years, it took organization and dedication to meet obligations at both those churches. Through snow, rain, agreeable weather or whatever, we got up at 4. a.m. to make the trek to the north or south church on whatever Sunday that would be.

Before dawn, Susie and I would walk sleepily out to the car in our pajamas to sleep in the backseat of the car. Then Daddy would drive the meandering Missouri hills through the predawn hours while we slept.

When we were about 25 miles out from our destination, at a designated culvert on the way, Susie and I would change from pajamas to Sunday dresses. Then we would make the last 25-mile journey to the little country church.

One particular Sunday morning has remained in my mind all these years. It was about 6 o’clock and Susie and I were asleep, somewhere on the road to the church up north. When we heard the shrill of a patrolman’s siren, we all woke up with a start.

We had been asleep and did not realize that Daddy must have dozed at the wheel and veered off the highway onto the shoulder. The patrolman had been following us, and Daddy’s weaving and unstable driving made the patrolman suspicious. He pulled us over and approached our car.

“How much have you had to drink, buddy?” the patrolman asked.

Stunned, Daddy told him that he had not been drinking. He explained the situation — he was tired from work all week and had had little sleep the night before. He explained to him about the trip to the churches.

Finally the patrolman understood Daddy was not drunk but just tired.

“We just get so many drunks on Sunday morning from those wild Saturday nights. Thought you were one. You acted like one! I am sorry.”

I suppose the patrolman was judging Daddy by the standard violations that he saw on Sunday mornings. Because of what he perceived from Daddy’s actions, he assumed something to be true that was not.

Daddy did not fault the policeman. Daddy’s driving was really the only thing that he had to go on. But I think about the times I have jumped to conclusions about people and have been dead wrong. That’s why judging others by man’s standards can sometimes get us into trouble. Jesus is the only true standard. When we judge our actions by Him, only then do we have a valid measurement.

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net