“But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama was in South Africa, attending the funeral of Nelson Mandela. While he was there, photographers caught the President doing something most inappropriate. He and the Danish prime minister were caught taking “selfies” of themselves on their cellphones. (For the uniformed, a “selfie” is a photo taken of one self; not to be confused with a “photo-bomb”, which is something completely different.)
Of course, this is not the first time a President has done something inappropriate in a public setting. Examples of bad manners and poor etiquette abound in presidential history. Most notably, George H.W. Bush once puked on a Japanese prime minister, although we can assume that it was totally accidental.
When I judge other people for their poor choices and behavior, I am reminded of something that my father once taught me: “Pull your own little red wagon.” In my day, kids owned “Radio Flyer” red wagons to carry toys and other kids around in. The message that Dad was trying to communicate was this: “You worry about your own self, and let other people worry about themselves.”
The apostle Paul was telling the Christians in Galatia the same thing. Instead of judging those who make mistakes, do stupid things, or deliberately sin, we should focus on our own thoughts, behaviors and actions. If tempted to do something wrong, we might just fall ourselves. If we think that we are above taking “selfies” at a funeral, we are deceiving ourselves. We are probably capable of doing a lot worse.
Instead of looking at others, you and I should look at ourselves. We should pull our own little red wagons, and let others pull theirs.
Lord, help me to self-examine my own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Instead of judging others for their mistakes, help me to focus upon my life and my relationship to you. In Jesus name, Amen.