Easy to judge, hard to love

It must be that judging others comes naturally to us as humans, or perhaps is a habit easily acquired. Because it is no work to judge someone else, really. It is so simple and effortless, we can do it sitting down. We can even judge others without personally engaging with the subject matter or people involved. We can do it without research! It only takes a headline to brew our heated condemnation.

When I’ve judged others, I’ve felt like I’ve worked, though. I’ve felt good about the “balance” I’ve set aright with my views. I’ve felt justified in my dismissals. I’ve felt the emotional rush of my well-crafted opinions. Yes, there is satisfaction in judging others that would lead me to believe I have accomplished work. But I shouldn’t be deceived that there are rewards that extend beyond my own gratification. Truthfully, even those are fake rewards – a deception that breeds destruction.

The true rewards come when I open my heart to others, when I love first instead of judge, when I engage in a posture of grace. This is no easy habit, but it is worthy work.

I was reminded of this when I read an old Facebook status of mine posted 8 years ago, a quote from Deitrich Bonhoeffer. It struck me then and fresh again today.

Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as ourselves.

Lord, help us love.

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From First Friends to Best Friends

I am one of four siblings. Being neither oldest nor youngest nor the only boy, I’ve been tempted from time to time to succumb to Middle Child Syndrome. But my siblings are so fantastic, it makes it very hard to have a martyr complex.

First Friends Best Friends

These guys were my first friends.

They were also my first enemies. But that’s also the point. Continue reading

The power of a hug

A Facebook status repost from last week in honour of National Hugging Day

High stress in the Cockram family tonight. Girls have big projects due yesterday and I’m revamping my talk for Saturday for the 50th time. And here we are when everything is due, between the three of us, we can’t understand the instructions, can’t find a stapler, the printer ink runs out, we’re in each other’s way, the hands on the clock move faster, the phones are ringing and beeping, and no one has the emotional resources to help each other.

Between us we’re quivery chinned or frantic in the eyes and all feeling slightly car sick. I stopped speaking in full sentences a long time ago because, do I have to?

Then Fifi walks by and accidentally gives me a hug, because hugging is a habit to her. She didn’t mean to, though, and pulls away to return to her stress. But that tiny act of reaching out is contagious and she comes back when I call her and we promise to get it together.

Hugs, so cute and so powerful, one of the biggest reminders of what’s important and one of the best ways to say “you’re important.”

Where’s J-M in the midst of all this? Out getting printer ink of course and it’s taking him a really, really long time. He’s a smart man to know just when to leave. But he’s missing out on these hugs. Now look at me, I’m smiling and getting my kids ice water and giving them kisses on the forehead.

I’m going to talk about hugs on Saturday instead of beauty maybe. Everything is going to be just fine.

I believe in the dining room table

I’m writing this in our dining room at a table, a holy gift.

We purchased this table thanks to the generosity of our Barrie Free Methodist Church family. On our last Sunday there, before we were to head to Toronto, they gave us notes of encouragement and gifts of money as a send-off. We were overwhelmed by this show of love–I wept for three days straight after reading the cards and still get teary when I think of it. We knew instantly that we would use the money for an item that would extend the legacy our church had offered to us over the years – one of love, hospitality, and a sense of home.

This table, upon purchase, was instantly put to good use. Right away, it showed signs of wear and tear as we welcomed guests into our new space and to the table. I always suggest we meet here instead of going out for coffee or tea. Already this table is the hub of stories and laughter with our friends, new and old. Continue reading

For the wives

There is a thought-provoking blog post by Lara Ortberg Turner about the “role” of pastor’s wives, Let Pastor’s Wives Do Their Own Thing, in reaction to the new TLC reality TV show Sisterhood, about wives of mega-church pastors in Atlanta, who call themselves “First Ladies.”

Sisterhood

In the trailer, one of the First Ladies says, “When you’re married to a pastor, you’re held to a higher standard.”  And yet, Turner proffers, “It is an antiquated and strange notion to view a woman as an extension of her husband’s occupation. Yet for some reason, we insist on doing this with pastor’s wives.” Continue reading

15 years in

Today I am celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary to a guy I am totally in love with.  Like so much in love, that if someone asked me whether I had to choose between $10 billion or John-Mark, I wouldn’t even hesitate to say John-Mark, only John-Mark!  And then, if they upped the price to $11 billion? Same answer, but I’d hesitate slightly.

Even though he’s so priceless, I still did not get him a card or a gift because that’s what happens on your 15th anniversary.  You’re OK without that stuff (although if J-M snuck me a little something, I’d not turn it away).

Plus we did “JUST go to Costa Rica, HELLO.”

That’s me quoting my teenage daughter, when she heard we’re heading out to dinner at a swanky restaurant.  That’s because our friends gave us a gift certificate for marrying them at an impromptu ceremony.  Remember that?  It’s also because we’re indulgent.  First a tropical vacation and then dinner out?  So. Weird.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to post an old entry from four years ago. Not because I’m lazy and it’s easier to recycle old entries, not because I’m late for dinner and really should change into something besides shorts and a tank when patronizing a reputable establishment… but because in our 11th year, I discovered a life-changing truth about marriage that keeps me thrilled to be married to this guy 15 years later.

Check it out:  Elevenses.

Happy Anniversary John-Mark.  You’re worth more than $10 billion by a long shot.