As I’ve gained freedom from condemning myself (see part 1), better memories have room to grow. The words of a song my mother used to sing came back to me:

A plump little robin flew down from a tree,
To hunt for a worm which she happened to see.
A frisky young chicken came scampering by,
And gazed at the robin with wondering eye.

Said the chick, “what a queer-looking chicken is that,
Its wings are too long and its body too flat!’
While the robin remarked loud enough to be heard,
“Dear me! An exceedingly strange looking bird.”

“Can you sing?” Robin asked, and the chicken said, “No,”
But asked in his turn if the robin could crow.
So the bird sought a tree and the chicken a wall,
And each thought the other knew nothing at all.

The memory of those silly birds tickled me. Then it hit me. How often do I behave like those birds, thinking and saying unkind things about another person? I’m bothered by another person’s food choices, the music they prefer, or even their body size or shape coupled with the clothes they choose to wear. Isn’t all that a form of condemnation? If there is now no condemnation for me, then I have no business picking on anyone else.

Perhaps I am not alone in this problem. Noticing individual differences isn’t wrong, but criticizing others for those harmless differences is damaging to me and to the other person. It ruins any chance of understanding and relationship. It can even morph into trying to control the choices other people make. God sees past our individual differences. God alone sees our hearts.

Matthew 7:1-2 says, “Do not judge others, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged…” I need to repeat it often. Freedom for me leads to freedom from me for others. Isn’t the Bible amazing? One needed lesson led to another.

Have a blessed day with whatever lessons come your way.

*An online search revealed that these words date to public school in the Midwest in 1891. My mother likely learned it from her mother, who taught in a one room school in the 1890’s.

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